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P4 Glossary AW

Glossary of Key Words for P4- Radiation for Life

TermDefinition
Alpha particles Radioactive particles which are helium nuclei- helium atoms without the electrons (they have a positive charge).
Alternating current or volatage An electric current that is not a one-way flow.
Ammeter Meter used to in an electric circuit for measuring current.
Ampere(A) The unit used to measure electrical current, often abbreviated to amp.
Attract Move towards, for example opposite charges attract.
Background radiation Ionising radiation from space and rocks, especially granite, that is around us all the time but is at a very low level.
Battery Two or more electrical cells joined together.
Becquerels (Bq) Unit of activity or count rate; 1Bq = 1 count per second.
Beta particles Particles given off by some radioactive materials (they have a negative charge).
Boron control rods Rods that are raised or lowered in a nuclear reactor to control the rate of fission.
Cancer Life-threatening condition where body cells divide uncontrollably.
Carbon A very important element, carbon is present in all living things and forms a huge range of compounds with other elements.
Carbon-14 Radioactived isotope of carbon.
Chain reaction A reaction where the products cause the reaction to go further or faster, e.g. in nuclear fission.
Charge(s) A property of matter exists in two forms, positive and negative, which attract each other.
Circuit breakers Resettable fuses.
“Cold fusion” Attempts to produce fusion at normal room temperature that have not been validated since other scientists could not reproduce the results.
Conducting gel Applied to a patient’s chest before using a defribillator to ensure good electrical contact.
Conductors Materials that transfer thermal energy easily; electrical conductors allow electricity to flow through them.
Conservation of energy Principle stating that energy cannot be created or destroyed, but can be altered from one form to another.
Cosmic rays Radiation from space that contributes to background radiation.
Count rate Average number of nuclei that decay every second.
Current Flow of electrons in an electric circuit.
Defribillator Machine which gives the heart an electric shock to start it beating regularly.
Diagnostic Process for identifying the nature or cause of a medical problem.
Direct current An electric current that flows in one direction only.
Double insulated An electrical device in which there are at least two layers of insulation between the user and the electric wires.
Earth wire The third wire in a mains cable which connects the case of an electric appliance to the ground so the case cannot become charged and cause an electric shock.
Earthed (electrically) Connected to the ground (at 0 (zero) volts).
Echoes Reflection of sound (or ultrasound).
Electric cars Cars running on solar power or batteries.
Electric windows Windows that can be opened or closed at the push of a button.
Electrical conductivity The measurement of the ability to conduct electricity.
Electrical conductors Materials that will allow electricity to pass through them.
Electromagnet A magnet that is magnetic only when a current is switched on.
Electromagnetic waves A group of waves that carry different amounts of energy- they range from low frequency radio waves to high frequency gamma rays.
Electrostatic attractions Attraction between opposite charges, e.g. between Na+ and Cl-.
Electrostatic dust precipitators Charged plates inside factory chimneys remove dust particles from smoke.
(Electrostatic) paint sprayer Charges paint droplets to give even coverage.
Enriched uranium Uranium containing more of the U-235 isotope than occurs naturally.
Filament A very fine wire, typically in an old-style incandescent lamp, that emits heat and light when a current passes through it.
Fission Splitting apart, especially of large radioactive nuclei such as uranium.
Frequency The number of waves passing a set point per second.
Fuel rods Rods of enriched uranium produced to provide fuel for nuclear power stations.
Fuse(s) A special component in an electric circuit containing a thin wire which is designed to melt if too much current flows through it, breaking the circuit.
Fusion The joining together of small nuclei, such as hydrogen isotopes, at very high temperatures with the release of energy.
Fusion bomb Hydrogen bombs or H-bombs based on fusion reactions.
Gamma rays Ionising electromagnetic waves that are radioactive and dangerous to human health- but are useful in killing cancer cells.
Geiger counter A device used to detect some types of radiation.
Geiger-Muller tube A device used to detect some types of radiation.
Generator Device that converts rotational kinetic energy into electrical energy.
Granite Mineral containing low levels of uranium.
Graphite A type of carbon used as a moderator in a nuclear power station.
Half-life Average time taken for half the nuclei in a radioactive sample to decay.
Insulator A material that transfers thermal energy only very slowly and will not allow electricity to pass through it.
Iodine Radioactive isotope of iodine are used in diagnosing and treating thyroid cancer.
Isotopes Atoms with the same number of protons but different number of neutrons.
Lead Heaviest element having a stable isotope; all isotopes of the elements above it in the periodic table are unstable.
Live (wire) Carries a high voltage into and around the house.
Longitudinal (wave) Wave in which the vibrations are in the same direction as the direction in which the wave travels.
Moderator Material used to slow down neutrons in a nuclear power station.
Mutation Where the DNA of within cells have been altered (this happens in cancer).
Neutral (wire) Provides a return path for the current in a mains supply to a local electricity substation.
Nuclear equation Equation showing changes to the nuclei in a nuclear reaction.
Nuclear power stations Power stations using the energy produced by nuclear fission to generate heat.
Paddles Charged plates in a defribillator that are placed on the patient’s chest.
Parallel circuit Electric circuit formed by more than one loop so that the electrons can go through different paths.
Photocopier Uses electrostatics to copy documents.
Potential difference Another word for voltage (a measure of the energy carried by the electric circuit).
Power Rate of transfer of energy; electric power=voltage x current.
Power station Facility that generates electricity on a large scale.
Power transmission Transmission of electricity.
Radioactive waste Waste produced by radioactive materials used at nuclear power stations, research centres and some hospitals.
Radiocarbon dating Method of dating some old artefacts using carbon-14.
Radiographer A technician who works in a hospital radiography department, possibly taking x-rays or treating some types of cancer with radiation.
Radioisotope Isotope of an element that is radioactive.
Radiotherapy Using ionizing radiation to kill cancer cells in the body.
Rarefactions Particles further apart than usual, decreasing pressure.
Ratemeter A device that measures the amount of radiation detected by a Geiger-Muller tube.
Recharging Battery being charged with a flow of electric current.
Reflected Radiation rebounding off a surface.
Resistance Measurement of how hard it is for an electric current to flow through a material.
Rheostat A variable resistor.
Series circuit Circuit formed by a single loop of electrical conductors.
Shock Occurs when a person comes into contact with an electrical energy source so that electrical energy flows through a portion of the body.
Smoke detector Device to detect smoke, some forms of which contain a source of alpha radiation.
Sound energy Anything making a noise gives out sound energy.
Sparks Type of electrostatic discharge briefly producing light and sound.
Stable (nucleus) (Nucleus) is not radioactive; it will not decay.
Superconductors Materials that conduct electricity with little or no resistance.
Therapy Treatment of a medical problem.
Thyroid gland Gland at the base of the neck which makes the hormone thyroxin.
Tracers A radioactive, radiation emitting substance used to follow movement of a particular chemical, e.g. in nuclear medicine, tracking the path of underground pipe etc.
Transmitted Radiation passing through an object.
Transverse (wave) Wave in which the vibrations are at right angles to the direction in which the wave travels.
Turbine Device for generating electricity- the turbine moves through a magnetic field and electricity is generated.
Ultrasound High-pitched sounds which are too high for detection by human ears.
Unstable (nucleus) Liable to decay.
Uranium Radioactive element with a very long half-life used in nuclear power stations.
Vacuum Space containing hardly any particles.
Van de Graff generator A machine which uses a moving belt to accumulate very high charges on a hollow metal globe.
Variable resistor A resistor whose resistance can change.
Voltage A measure of the energy carried by an electric current (also called the potential difference).
Voltmeter Instrument used to measure voltage or potential difference.
Volts (V) Units used to measure voltage.
Watt (W) A unit of power, 1 watt equals 1 joule of energy being transferred per second.
Wave Oscillatory motion.
X-rays Ionising electromagnetic waves used in x-ray photography (where x-rays are used to generate pictures of bones).
Created by: Brimsham