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Ch. 16 Flash Cards

Chapter Sixteen: Radioactive Decay

QuestionAnswer
What is an Alpha particle? An Alpha particle is basically a Helium nucleus released after "Alpha Decay".
What is Alpha Decay? When an atom's nucleus is large and unstable, and must remove two protons and two neutrons (Helium nucleus) to become smaller, thus becoming more stable.
What is a Beta particle? A Beta particle is basically an electron, a negatively charged particle that is released after "Beta Decay".
What is Beta Decay? Beta Decay is when a neutron is turned into a proton, or a proton into a neutron. Either way, an electron is emitted afterwards. This electron, in this case, is called a "Beta Particle".
What is Gamma Decay? Gamma Decay is when an atom has a high energy level, and must emit a photon with high a amount of energy called a "Gamma Particle". This results in an atom with a lower energy level.
What is a Gamma Particle? A photon emitted after Gamma Decay to lower an atom's energy level.
Briefly describe the process of radioactivity. Radioactivity is the process by which a nucleus of an atom gives off nuclear radiation.
What is a mass number? The mass number of an atom's nucleus is the sum of the numbers of protons and neutrons in that nucleus.
What are isotopes? Isotopes are atoms with the same atoms of protons and electrons as normal atoms of that element do, but have a different number of neutrons, increasing it's atomic mass, causing it to weigh more than the normal atoms.
What is a half-life, in terms of radioactive decay? A half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of a substance to decay (this could take thousands of years, depending on the element).
What is Nuclear Fission? Nuclear Fission is the process by which a large nucleus splits into two smaller, more stable nuclei and energy is released.
What are continuous series of nuclear fission reactions? Those are nuclear chain reactions. Example: a neutron hits a uranium nucleus, which splits into Barium and Krypton nuclei, plus three other neutrons that hit other uranium nuclei, that split into more Barium and Krypton nuclei and more neutrons...
What is the the process by which two or more nuclei that have small masses combine, to form one bigger nucleus; also releases energy? That is called Nuclear Fusion.
Created by: sspata