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When beryllium is bombarded with alpha particles, where do the electrons come from to make the carbon stable? Nowhere. This is a nuclear reaction, not a chemical one. Charge is conserved and no extra electrons were supplied. The carbon nucleus is stable with respect to nuclear decay. Chemical stability relates only to the behavior of electrons with ...


7

There are fewer decays because there are fewer atoms to decay The simple reason why the number of decays (strictly, the number of decays per unit time) decreases in simple radioactive decay is because there are fewer atoms left to decay. Nuclear decay is probabilistic. The probability of any given unstable atom decaying is constant (independent of time or ...


6

The electrons are there, all around and intermingled with the nuclei. They maintain the requirement of charge neutrality but, at the temperatures in stellar cores, they don't do much else because there is too much thermal energy and entropy to stabilize complete atoms. So in studying reactions, we ignore them as we would a "spectator species" in an ...


5

It is a general principle, not limited to nuclear chemistry, but is common for many areas, e.g. for the reaction kinetic of the 1st order. All processes, where the value time rate is proportional to the value, have value time evolution in the form of the exponential function. $$\frac {\mathrm{d}x}{\mathrm{d}t}= -k \cdot x$$ leads to $$x= x_0 \cdot \exp {...


4

The typical binding energy per nucleon $(E_\mathrm B/A)$ of most nuclides is about $5{-}8\ \mathrm{MeV}$. Such values are higher than the released energy of a typical radioactive decay. Therefore, emission of neutrons doesn’t occur during most usual radioactive decay processes. In order to make a neutron source, you have to find a suitable target (not $^{...


1

Deuterium is a stable combination of a proton and a neutron, but it could accept and bind a proton, forming helium-3 or a neutron, forming tritium. Neither reaction would be explosive, in the sense of liberating enough energy to cause some other nuclear reaction. You might be able to make a small explosion as the sudden heat boils something very fast. Now, ...


1

In a sense, atoms are "going nuclear" all the time, forming radioactive isotopes under the influence of high-energy particles in the upper atmosphere. In perhaps the best-known example, the bombardment of nitrogen with high-energy neutrons may generate carbon-14, which subsequently enters organic matter before it slowly decays (half-life = 5700 years), ...


1

As a general matter, it seems possible that neutron isotopes are actually not physically similar to their elements, since, for example, a given isotope might not be stable. It was very well known (pre-1940s) that the number of protons (Z) distinguish one element from the other. If we talk about the simplest element with Z=1, whether it contains 0, 1 or 2 ...


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