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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1answer
113 views

Instability due to neutrons

Why does an excess of neutrons leads to instability? For example, both $\ce{^{3}H}$ and $\ce{^{4}H}$ are unstable, with respective half-lives of $3.89\cdot 10^8$ and $1.39\cdot 10^{-22}$ seconds. By ...
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Nickel-63 and surge protector / voltage regulator

I've read that nickel-63 is used in surge protectors and voltage regulators. What is it about nickel-63 that makes it particularly suitable for those applications?
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339 views

How does the number of electrons increase in beta decay? [duplicate]

So, I am having trouble understanding beta decay. Particularly the number of electrons. For example; Carbon-14 decaying into Nitrogen-14. Carbon-14 has 12 neutrons, 6 protons and 6 electrons. When ...
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Fluorine and fossils

They are now assisted by chemists who are able to fix dates through the analysis of pollen, radioactive carbon, and fluorine found in connection with fossils.. Here the text is talking about basic ...
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dangers of radiation question

At a recent flea market, someone was selling a surplus military device that was marked as having 900 millicuries and should be disposed of in a safe way. I picked it up to read the words. Whould 900 ...
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1answer
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How is phosphorus-32 produced?

I'm doing an assignment where I have to research a radioisotope of my choice. I decided to do phosphorus-32 and my assignment requires me to explain how the isotope is made. There is very minimal ...
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Radioactive Decay Process

Please bear with my long winded description. It is classical to model radioactive decay of some particles $A \rightarrow A^\ast$ by the differential equation \begin{align} \frac{\mathrm dN_A}{\...
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Half-Life of Radioactive Isotopes: Why? How?

Why do radioactive isotopes have a half-life? I know that they decay in order to become stable but why would it take out enough subatomic particles to be half? Or am I approaching this question the ...
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The Mathematic of finding the Decay Product Compoistion of Pitchblende/Uraninite [closed]

Just as the title says. I’m curious as to how you would go about figuring out the amount of decay products in a given sample of Pitchblende/Uraninite. I would hazard a guess at using the half life ...
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Can we produce tritium from helium 3? If yes how?

I want to know the best and economic way of the manufacture of tritium from helium-3
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132 views

Can't nobelium form compounds like other lanthanides/actinides do?

Over the past week I've been browsing through WebElements just to find out some interesting facts/properties about certain elements in the Periodic Table. I've just come across the uncommon element ...
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Why every atom of a radioactive element, though being indistinguishable in every aspect, doesn't decay simultaneously? [duplicate]

First of all, I know this (or, similar) question has been discussed previously here. But the discussion there couldn't help me completely getting rid of my confusion, hence this attempt. In any ...
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386 views

Uses of ruthenium-106?

I read a news article recently about a cloud of ruthenium-106 being released over Europe. The article mentioned one of the uses for this specific isotope is in fuel cells for satellites. I tried to do ...
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Is it possible to speed up radioactive decay?

I’m aware that elements like $\ce{^14C}$ have a known half-life, which means that over a span of roughly $5730$ years, half of the $\ce{^14C}$ atoms decay into $\ce{^14N}$. Are there any substances ...
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1answer
116 views

What are the ways to make radioactive water drinkable again? [closed]

Let's say survivors in the area contaminated by radioactive fallout need to somehow process the water from rivers, rain or pipes. How could they go about it? Is it even possible to 'remove ...
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Why do Alpha particles not collide with electrons during alpha decay? [duplicate]

Alpha particles are positively charged, so my question is that during alpha decay, when these are released from the nucleus, why doesn't it ever occur that they collide and grab an electron or two ...
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396 views

Would alpha particles react to form compounds? [closed]

Alpha particles, to my understanding, are just $\ce{He}^{2+}$ ions. Therefore, if one were to emit alpha particles in oxygen, wouldn't the oxygen, ($\ce{O^{2-}}$), react to form $\ce{HeO}$? If so, ...
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Can you decay to half an atom?

In school we are learning about half-life, and I was wondering if it is possible to decay to half an atom?
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504 views

Excited helium gas from the colision of alpha particles with beta particles?

As alpha particles are made out of 2 protons and 2 neutrons, they are the same as the helium atom with a +2 charge, but with a certain speed. The beta particles are made out of 1 electron at a certain ...
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1answer
331 views

Radioactivity of materials [closed]

Suppose that a raidoactive brick of an unknown element with a half-life of one year (dangerous stuff!) is left on a regular desk for a day. After the day has passed, the brick is removed. Does the ...
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927 views

Why atomic number decreases in alpha emission

My teachers taugh me that alpha particle is a helium nucleus carrying net +2 charge, hence if an radioactive subastance emits alpha particle it looses two of its protons and two neutrons but no ...
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Effects of Ionizing a Radioactive Isotope

If you took your favorite radioactive isotope and ionized it using a strong electric field (or any other ionization method), thereby stripping it of an electron, what would happen when it decayed? For ...
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762 views

Wouldn't radiolabelled phosphorus in DNA break it apart as it disintegrates?

The Hershey-Chase experiment was designed to prove that DNA is the genetic material in organisms. In this experiment, two batches of viruses were grown in two separate media A and B, with A having an ...
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1answer
360 views

Is there a relationship between Free Radicals and Beta Particles?

This question is contingent on my understanding of the two terms in the title. As I was taught, a Free Radical is a reactive (high energy?) valence electron released for stability's sake because it is ...
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How to estimate the enrichment of U-234 from the enrichment of U-235?

Fresh nuclear fuel made from naturally occurring uranium (i.e. neither MOX nor ERU fuel) is mainly characterised by the enrichment of $\ce{^235U}$. The mass and activity concentrations of $\ce{^235U}$ ...
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Best Radioactive Isotopes for Energy Generation [closed]

First off, this is research for a video game storyline, I like to be thorough. -- I am looking for the most efficient method of nuclear power generation which: Can survive for hundreds/thousands of ...
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1answer
428 views

What is the difference between strontium-86 and strontium-90?

I know that strontium ($\ce{Sr^90})$ has a higher mass number than its counterpart, but strontium ($\ce{Sr^86}$) is non-radioactive and not deadly to humans. What makes $\ce{Sr^90}$ so different ...
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1answer
991 views

Where do the electron and antineutrino come from in beta decay? [duplicate]

I was studying about nuclear reactions and similar stuff, but stumbled upon this doubt In the process of beta decay, where a neutron transforms into a proton, a positron and an antineutrino, where do ...
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In a sample of radioactive substance all the atoms don't disintegrate simultaneously. Why?

Radioactivity though spontaneous all the atoms don't disintegrate at a time
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What happens chemically to 5'-radiolabeled aqueous thyroxine (thyroid prohormone) when its I-131 undergoes beta+gamma decay?

Related to this question about $\ce{^{14}C}$ beta decay in $\ce{CO2}$, what happens when the $\ce{^{131}I}$ in radiolabeled thyroxine (thyroid prohormone, or "T$_4$") undergoes beta-plus-gamma decay ...
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What happens to a radioactive carbon dioxide molecule when its carbon-14 atom decays?

When carbon-14 decays, the decay products are nitrogen-14 and an electron (and an electron antineutrino, but that's chemically irrelevant*): $$\ce{^14_6C -> ^14_7N + e- + \overline{v_e}}$$ Let's ...
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552 views

If the half-life of an isotope exceeds the age of the Universe, then how is it measured?

According to this Wikipedia article, the half-life of Bismuth-209 is 19 billion billion years, which exceeds the age of the Universe by factor on the order of a billion. How is the half-life of an ...
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Rutherford's Alpha Ray Scattering Experiment

I understood the result of this experiment that the nucleus is nearly empty and things like that. But what I have on mind is that when an alpha particle goes nearer to the thin gold foil why couldn'...
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Nuclear reactions involve naked nuclei only. True or false?

In nuclear reactions are all the species involved, naked nuclei that is, are they all atoms that have been completely stripped of their electrons? If not, then shouldn't an alpha decay result in the ...
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What are the decay products of HTO?

Tritium, symbol $\ce{T}$, is hydrogen with a mass of $3\ \mathrm{amu}$. It is radioactive and undergoes $\beta$ decay. Which of the following could be the only products after a quantity of $\ce{HTO}$ ...
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1answer
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Why is Promethium the only radioactive Lanthanide?

Why is it that only Promethium (Pm) is the only radioactive lanthanide? I was trying to figure out what percentage of all radioactive elements in the Periodic Table the f-block accounts for, when it ...
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146 views

Consequences of a neutron decay (beta radiation) and reasoning for an electron capture

I came about the following doubts (extremely comprehensive in nature) in a logical sequence, so I have made it a point to explain either in full detail and then proceed to the interrelation between ...
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1answer
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Radioactive Isotopes form Compounds? The Hershey-Chase Experiment

Our chemistry teacher taught us last year, that radioactive isotopes of elements don't form compounds with other elements "because they're unstable" and since we're high-schoolers (I'm assuming that's ...
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1answer
977 views

Why is astatine so radioactive?

I have heard and read about astatine's radioactivity, and it makes no sense to me. Why is it so unstable? Uranium has a half life ranging from 70 to 4.5 billion years (natural isotopes), and it has 7 ...
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Can gamma radiation cause transmutation?

In irradiation of food for sterilisation, is gamma radiation absorbed by the food? If so, can it theoretically cause production of radioisotopes? Or does it ionise atoms in the food?
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How do I correctly typeset metastable radionuclide symbols?

Does anyone know if there is an officially sanctioned way to typeset symbols like technetium-99m (99Tcm or 99mTc)? I have seen both, although in more recent publications, I think, the latter ...
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1answer
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Mixing a Tagged Sample of Lead Iodide with another Iodide Salt [closed]

A sample of sparingly soluble $\ce{PbI_2{(s)}}$ containing radioactive $\ce{^{133}I}$ is added to 0.10 M $\ce{KI_{(aq)}}$ and stirred overnight, what happens? I The radioactivity of the liquid phase ...
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Troubleshoot anion exchange column (Fe, Cr, Co separation)?

I ran an anion exchange column to separatate Fe, Cr, Co from solution of concentrated HCl. The column was Dowex 1x8, 200-400 mesh, diameter < 0.5 cm, lenth 7 cm. A gradient of acid concentrations ...
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1answer
916 views

What happens to the lost mass in radioactive decay?

We were studying kinetics in class which led me to wonder what happens to the decayed matter. After all, there is a loss in mass and according to mass energy equivalence, there should be some release ...
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Gamma Spectroscopy: 511 keV peak?

Given a source with no gamma rays at 511 keV, what are two reasons for a peak at this location in a gamma spectrum (on HPGe detector)? I know the annihilation peak from pair production appears at 511 ...
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What would happen if Carbon-14 was in a molecule, and decayed into Nitrogen? [closed]

This interested me because of Melvin Calvin's experiment with photosynthesis where he used radioactive Carbon-14. If a plant used it as a reactant to make glucose, and that Carbon-14 decayed into ...
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Confusing Lines About Extinct Elements

In "The Greatest Show On Earth", author Richard Dawkins spends a chapter discussing radiometric dating. I find myself confused by the following lines, though I'm sure the reason is elementary. (...
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Why do all radioactive decay series terminate at lead?

Thorium series: Uranium series: Actinium series: Why do all the radioactive decay series terminate at lead isotope? Why not hydrogen? (All pictures were taken from Wikipedia.)
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2 modes of radioactive decay for hydrogen-5?

While looking at a table of helium isotopes it said that helium-8 turns into Tritium(hydrogen-3) and helium-5 through fission and beta decay. But the pathway to helium-5 isn't so direct. It is more ...
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1answer
4k views

Why radioactive elements emit alpha beta and gamma rays

I am confused about this that why radioactive elements emits alpha beta and gamma rays WHILE other elements can't do so.