Questions tagged [radioactivity]

Questions relating to radioactive substances and the chemistry of radioactivity. Also, use [rare-earth-elements] if the question is about their radioactivity specifically.

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Can eating soap protect you if you ingested radioisotopes? [closed]

In “Pass the Vegetables, Please”, the 71st episode of Gilligan's Island, Gilligan and the gang all ate seeds of radioactive vegetables, and the professor suggested eating soap. He says the ...
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Why is it that first order reactions never end? [duplicate]

I'm studying chemical kinetics in high school. We are studying Integrated Rate Equation of first order reactions - their derivations and graphs. Our teacher showed us a graph of: Concentration of ...
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2 answers
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How is a beta particle an electron? [closed]

I've previously read that a beta particle is just a fast moving electron or positron that emerges out of a neutron and turns it into a proton. I'm really confused by this since particle physics states ...
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For Radiochemistry why is a recovery range of 30-110% acceptable for isotopic tracers used for alpha spectrometry analysis of radionuclides?

Just like the title says. I am right now isolating and concentrating several radionuclides from environmental samples using micro-coprecipitation to be able to analyze it on an a alpha spectrometer. ...
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2 answers
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Neutron–proton ratio and isotope stability

I have studied that most of the isotopes (not all of them!) with a neutron–proton ratio of $\ge 1.5$ are unstable; but it is obvious that this is not true in some cases like carbon-14 or technetium-99....
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4 votes
1 answer
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What do the suffixes on Y-90s and Y-90v mean?

I'm writing software that needs to differentiate the following "isotopes" for a dose calibrator (as used in nuclear medicine). My software needs to normalize various inputs for "...
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Finding half life of a given decay path given percentage decayed in each path

$^{64}_{29}\ce{Cu}$(" half life" =$12.8$ "hours" ) decay by $\beta^{-}$- emission (38%), $\beta^+$- emission(19%), and electron capture (43%). Write the decay products and ...
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7 votes
2 answers
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Can actinides form diamagnetic coordination complexes?

I am not sure how accurate I can predict the magnetic properties of actinide diamagnetic complexes, due to the fact that they share the F-block electron as Lanthanides, which are already tricky, ...
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1 answer
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Why is the only natural source of radium compounds uranium minerals?

A common mineral of barium is barytes, or barium sulfate ($\ce{BaSO4}$). Because elements in the same periodic group have similar chemical properties, we might expect to and some radium sulfate ($\...
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1 answer
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Energy per atom in a parallel radioactivity equation [closed]

I was reading an example in my textbook and the question goes like this: In a parallel radioactive decay, find energy liberated per atom of 'A' in MeV. The solution is proceeded like this: $$ \...
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Why is tellurium-128 so stable compared to the other radioisotopes?

Tellurium-128 is the longest lived radioisotope so far with a half-life of 2.3 septillion ($2.3*10^{24}$) years. I know I've heard something about so called "magic numbers" that if you have ...
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Where do the electrons for which RTG's use for the Seeback effect come from?

I know that RTG's use Radioactive Isotope that emit Alpha particles generally (ie. NASA uses Pu 238), I also know that these Alpha particles are consiting of 2 Protons and 2 Neutrons, since the RTG ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
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Why alpha-decay only occurs in elements with atomic number greater than 83? [closed]

In my textbook, it is written that $α$-decay only occurs in heavier nuclei. But why? Why is that so? There is literally no explanation given in my textbook as to why this is true. Please explain. ...
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1 answer
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What is the difference between radioactive equilibrium and transient equilibrium?

Consider the following radioactive decay: $\ce{A\rightarrow B\rightarrow C}$ In my textbook, it is written that radioactive equilibrium is when rate of formation of $\ce{B}$ is equal to rate of ...
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How is the atomic number of a beta particle zero?

In my textbook, $\ce{β-}$ particle is denoted as $_{-1}e^0$. This means that the atomic number of $\ce{β-}$ is $\ce{-1}$. But that doesn't make any sense. Also, how is the mass number of $\ce{β-}$ ...
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2 votes
1 answer
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Finding half-life of a nuclide based on gas release

Full Question: The hydride of an unstable nuclide of a Group IIA metal, $\ce{MH2 (s)}$, decays by alpha emission. A $\pu{0.025 mol}$ sample of the hydride is placed in an evacuated $\pu{2.0 L}$ ...
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Long-lived, non-lethal radioisotope for fiction [closed]

I'm writing something where the characters are looking for someone among a large set of people. They don't know who this person is and they don't know what they're looking for, so their best bet is to ...
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Does the decay of Carbon-14 effect health in biological systems?

Please note that this is not fundamentally a Biology question. It relates to the properties of molecules containing Carbon and Nitrogen. Carbon atoms are everywhere in living systems from sugars to ...
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Is it accurate to describe these radiation measurement units in terms of where-it's-measured and relationship-to-time?

I'm reading about measuring radiation and trying to come up with a more intuitive retelling for an audience familiar with math but not necessarily chemistry or any physical science. Is any or all of ...
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-4 votes
1 answer
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Could there ever be a way to safely handle visible amounts of elements like astatine, francium, or protactinium? [closed]

This is something I'd actually be interested in doing if possible. I've asked about artificial stability here https://physics.stackexchange.com/questions/584595/could-there-at-least-theoretically-ever-...
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1 vote
2 answers
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What lab equipment did Marie Curie use to isolate radium?

My experience in growing crystals for condensed matter physics has been sealing grams of material in ampoules which get heated in laboratory furnaces, so I don't have the experience to understand how ...
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9 votes
1 answer
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How are organic compounds with radioactive atoms synthesized? [closed]

We often see reactions such as these in textbooks to highlight how reaction mechanisms work: How are the radioactive substrates required for these mechanisms synthesized in the first place? There ...
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8 votes
2 answers
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Kinetics of a simultaneous parallel radioactive decay

Question: A radioactive isotope, A undergoes simultaneous decay to different nuclei as: \begin{array}{cc} \ce{A->P}&\,(t_{1/2}=9\ \mathrm h)\\ \ce{A->Q}&\,(t_{1/2}=4.5\ \mathrm h) \end{...
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18 votes
3 answers
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Why can radioactive contamination be spread by people?

So I am reading a book called "Voices from Chernobyl" where witnesses, nuclear plant workers, firefighters and other persons involved in the 1986 accident give testimony of their experiences....
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22 votes
3 answers
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How toxic chemically is plutonium (Pu), neglecting the radioactive damage?

In Rhodes' The Making of the Atomic Bomb, he says that, while Pu is not that radioactive (which is surprising -- maybe he means compared with radium and some other elements), it is very toxic. I would ...
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How are half lifes calculated for radioactive substances that decay over many years [duplicate]

How are the half lives (or whole lives) calculated for slowly decaying radioactive substances such as tellurium? I must be having a fundamental misunderstanding of how we are able to predict the ...
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Why is an atom with excess neutrons unstable? [duplicate]

In this chart, I can see that stable nuclides (other than hydrogen) have a neutron count greater than or equal to their proton count, and that the neutron:proton ratio for stable nuclides increases ...
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-3 votes
1 answer
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Radioactive decay of ions in solution [closed]

What happens when ionic salts in solution decays? For example, if I had a handful of Francium-223 Palmitate(Francium salt of palmitic acid) and I were to put it in solution, how would the francium ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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Has the half-life of an isotope ever been accurately predicted before it could be measured?

The half lives of many radioactive isotopes have been measured directly. But are their half-lives known to be a function of their composition? In other words, can someone say "given an atom with this ...
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1 vote
4 answers
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Determining Half-lifes from a graph

So I was studying for an exam I have thursday when I came across a question regarding half-life. I had previously thought that the definition of a half-life is the time it takes for the amount of ...
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1 vote
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Do radioisotopes emitted particles influence their chemistry? [duplicate]

Supposedly, a isotopes have the same chemistry, i.e. how they bond to other atoms. Is this true for radioisotopes? I can imagine a nucleus emitting particles that interact with existing bonds in its ...
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-2 votes
2 answers
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In the reaction mentioned what percentage of reaction proceeds via SN1 mechanism?

2-iodo butane (having radioactive iodine) reacts with KI (having non radioactive iodine). Rate of loss of optical activity was 1.96 times the rate of loss of radioactivity. What percentage of reaction ...
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If every radioisotope atom in your body decayed at once, would you explode? What are the odds of it happening spontaneously? [closed]

The title pretty much sums it all.
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how can carbon dating even work? Its at atomic level! [duplicate]

I am a homeschooling parent, so pardon me asking stupid questions. Everywhere I read, it is said carbon based lifeforms eat carbon and after their death that atom starts a decay. But what I cannot ...
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8 votes
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Why does radiocarbon dating only work in nonliving creatures? [duplicate]

I understand how carbon dating works, though I do not understand why it doesn't happen while a creature is living. Because while we are alive we still have carbon 14 in us, so shouldn't it work?
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Can the presence of radon (Rn-222) be determined by testing dust?

If a relatively unventilated area, like a basement, were to be exposed to radon gas (Rn-222), would the dust in the area possess a detectable amount of lead? Considering lead 214 is a decay product of ...
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2 answers
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If a beta particle is just an electron, what causes it to be radioactive/dangerous? [closed]

Like what the title says, my question is if a beta particle is just an electron, what causes it to be dangerous? I understand that a beta particle is not only an electron but it is also one with a ...
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What Is the Difference Between Radiation and Radioactivity? [closed]

Does all radiation glow green and mutates people on contact?
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Long term composition of matter [closed]

If I have an igneous rock shown by geologic study to be 10,000 years old, approximately what percentage of the atoms (or protons, etc) in the rock might be the same ones that were in it 10,000 years ...
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-2 votes
1 answer
3k views

Why Rutherford choose Alpha particle for his gold foil experiment? [closed]

Why did Rutherford choose Alpha particles for his gold foil experiment?
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32 votes
1 answer
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What caused the flashes in the video footage of Chernobyl?

There is video footage of nearby villages in Pripyat, in the first week after the Chernobyl disaster. When I watch it there are villagers leading normal lives in normal clothing. Some Russian nuclear ...
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1 vote
1 answer
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Does Suncream have any affect or help protect against radiation

So I was just watching the HBO series Chenoybl and saw that people suffered various degreesvof burns from radiation form Uranium 235 and some were very minor and looked like a normal sun burn. My ...
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Strontium-89 vs strontium-90

Why is radioactive strontium-89 is considered medically useful for bones (along with other benefits) whereas strontium-90 (also being radioactive) is harmful for human body? How does the addition of ...
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What is the most stable pear-shaped nucleus? [closed]

I have heard on the Internet that there are at least three pear-shaped nuclei: radium-224, radon-220 (a direct product of the previous isotope), and barium-144. CERN has a webpage about this discovery ...
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1 vote
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Why should I care about the highly radioactive elements after fermium? [closed]

After element 100, fermium, there are a bunch of highly radioactive elements like fermium, tennessine, and oganesson, and others. These elements are to radioactive to store, they will instantly ...
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Nuclear equations for the decay of radon-222 to lead-206 [closed]

I have to answer this on my worksheet. I understand nuclear chemistry equations a bit, as well as the process of alpha decay and somewhat about what happens when an atom changes its number of protons ...
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3 votes
1 answer
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How are Uranium and such materials made

I was wondering, how are materials like uranium, plutonium and other radioctive materials made. Do they all come from the old exploded stars and just been in the mountains for millions of years. Is ...
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6 votes
1 answer
587 views

What chemical explosives detonate when exposed to alpha particles or nuclear fission products?

Wikipedia's article on nitrogen triiodide $\ce{NI3}$ claims that Nitrogen triiodide is also notable for being the only known chemical explosive that detonates when exposed to alpha particles and ...
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A radioactive element that only emits beta rays [closed]

Are there any radioactive elements which only emit beta rays? If not, are there any radioactive elements that only emit beta and gamma rays?
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1 vote
2 answers
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Will gamma radiation cause "thermal" decomposition of sodium bicarbonate?

I am conducting research for a new drug that contains powdered sodium bicarbonate, and the drug will need to be sterilized after placement into it's container/closure system. Typically, this is ...
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