What is Radioactivity? | Best Chemistry Review

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Radioactivity


Radioactivity is the decay of the nucleus of an unstable atom. The stability or the instability is a balance of the strong nuclear force, which holds the nucleus together, and the electromagnetic force that repels the protons.


Unstable nuclei will decay when the nucleus emits either particles, or energy. There are three types of radioactivity: alpha particles, beta particles, and gamma rays. Alpha particles are the nuclei of helium atoms, and they have high energies though they travel short distances.


Beta particles are electrons emitted from the nucleus. They don’t participate in chemical reactions, and do not come from orbitals. They don’t participate in chemical reactions, and they do not come from orbitals.


Then finally we come to gamma rays, which are electromagnetic waves emitted from the nucleus, and they have high energy. Alpha particles cannot penetrate paper or skin. Beta particles cannot penetrate aluminum foil.


Gamma rays can be stopped by led. That gives you an idea of the strength of these radioactive particles, or rays. Again, radioactivity is the decay of the nucleus of an unstable atom. An unstable nucleus will decay when the nucleus emits either particles, or energy.



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Last updated: 10/04/2018

 

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