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Chemistry Unit 10

Unit 10: Nuclear Chemistry

Nuclear Stability Only certain ratios of protons to neutrons within a nucleus are stable
Radioactive Decay Process by which an unstable nucleus emits a particle and/or energy from its nucleus in order to become more stable
Transmutation The nuclear change from one element into another
Detecting Radioactivity Nuclear radiation forms ions by removing electrons from matter it passes through (stripped-away electrons can be detected)
Geiger Counter Device that produces an electric current when radiation is present. (learn the other parts too)
Alpha Decay: Alpha Radiation Consists of positively charged particles with a charge of +2 and a mass of 4
Beta Decay: Beta Radiation Consists of negatively charged particles identical in their properties to electrons
Gamma Decay: Gamma Radiation Consists of high-energy photons of very short wavelength. Frequently accompanies other types of nuclear particle decay.
Positron Emission Consists of the antiparticle of the electron being emitted from a nucleus. Results from a proton being converted to a neutron.
Electron Capture (EC) Occurs when an inner electron is absorbed by the nucleus. Also known as Inverse Beta Decay. EC also results in a proton being converted to a neutron.
Spontaneous Fission (SF) The splitting of a heavy nuclide into two lighter nuclides with similar mass numbers. Can only occur with nuclides with mass numbers over 230.
Half-Life The time required for the number of radioactive nuclides to reach half of their original value. The half-life of a radioactive isotope cannot be altered.
Induced Radioactivity A stable nucleus can be made radioactive bombarding it with neutrons, alpha particles or small nuclides of elements.
Neutron Bombardment Some nuclides readily absorb neutrons
Nuclear Fusion Light nuclei combine to form a heavy nucleus and energy
Health Effects of Radiation Radiation damage is classified into categories: (1) Somatic Damage and (2) Genetic Damage
(1) Somatic Damage Damage to the organism itself, resulting in sickness or death
(2) Genetic Damage Damage to the genetic machinery, which produces malfunctions in the offspring of the organism
Biological effects of radiation depends on 4 main factors (1) The energy of the radiation. (2) Penetrating ability of radiation (gamma > beta > alpha). (3) Ionizing ability of radiation (alpha > beta > gamma). (4) Chemical properties of radiation damage
Two-debated modles for radiation damage (1) Linear. (2) Threshold.
Practice Uses of Radioactivity Carbon-14 Dating (learn the process), Food Irradiation, Medical Diagnosis, Cancer Treatment, Smoke Alarms, Generation of Electrical Power, and Weapons of Mass Destruction
Food Irradiation Certain food products are irradiated to kill bacteria and extend shelf-life
Medical Diagnosis Radioactive tracer isotopes are used to monitor bodily processes and diagnose medical problems
Cancer Treatment Gamma radiation from radioactive isotopes (Co-60) can be used to destroy cancer cells and other undesirable tissues
Smoke Alarms Most smoke alarms contain radioactive isotope: Americium-241
Generation of Electrical Power Nuclear fission reactors produce 10% (2021) of the world's electrical power
Nuclear WMD's 9 countries currently possess over 15,000 atomic (fission) and/or thermonuclear (fusion) bomb warhead stockpiles
Nuclear Power Plants Neutrons produced by the fission of U-235 allow for a self-sustaining fission process called a chain reaction
3 Stages of Fission Chain Reaction Subcritical, Critical, and Supercritical
Subcritical On average, less than one neutron from each fission event causes an additional fission event (process dies out)
Critical Exactly one neutron from each fission event causes another fission event (process sustains istelf)
Supercritical More than one neutron from each fission event causes an additional fission event (process rapidly escalates exponentially - i.e., atomic bomb)
Reactor Core Contains fuel rods, control rods, and moderator
Fuel Rods Contain enriched U-235 pellets. Mined uranium ore = 0.7% U-235. Enriched uranium ore = 3% U-235 (critical mass).
Control Rods Placed between fuel rods to absorb neutrons (control the rate of fission)
Moderator* Liquid water circulated through reactor core to remove and circulate heat and slow down neutrons (learn the other steps)
Nuclear Waste A typically large reactor will produce 27 tons of spent fuel rods each year
Created by: sara!
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