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**Section 1: What is Radioactivity?**

Preview Key Ideas Bellringer Nuclear Radiation Nuclear Decay Math Skills Radioactive Decay Rates

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**Key Ideas What happens when an element undergoes radioactive decay?**

How does radiation affect the nucleus of an unstable isotope? How do scientists predict when an atom will undergo radioactive decay?

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Bellringer Before studying about nuclear chemistry, answer the following items to refresh your memory about the structure of the nucleus. 1. Label the diagram below.

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Bellringer, continued 2. Complete the table below to indicate how many protons and neutrons are in the nuclei of each atom.

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SPS3.a&b Differentiate between alpha and beta particles and gamma radiation and between fission and fusion.

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**EQ: What are the components of radioactivity and what are the types of nuclear reactions?**

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**What happens when an element undergoes radioactive decay?**

Nuclear Radiation What happens when an element undergoes radioactive decay?

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Nuclear Radiation After radioactive decay, the element changes into a different isotope of the same element or into an entirely different element.

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Nuclear Radiation radioactive decay: the disintegration of an unstable atomic nucleus into one or more different nuclides

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**10-1-3 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

nuclear radiation: the particles that are released from the nucleus during radioactive decay

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**10-1-4 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

nuclear radiation can contain alpha particles beta particles gamma rays neutrons

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**10-1-5 Types of Nuclear Radiation**

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**10-1-6 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

alpha particle: a positively charged particle that consists of two protons and two neutrons and that is emitted from the nucleus during radioactive decay

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**10-1-7 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

beta particle: an electron or positron that is emitted from a neutron in a nucleus during radioactive decay

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**10-1-8 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

Gamma rays are high-energy electromagnetic radiation.

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**10-1-9 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

gamma ray: a high-energy photon emitted by a nucleus during fission and radioactive decay

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**10-1-10 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

Neutron emission consists of matter that is emitted from an unstable nucleus.

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**10-1-11 Nuclear Radiation, continued**

Neutrons are able to travel farther through matter than either alpha or beta particles.

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**How does radiation affect the nucleus of an unstable isotope?**

Nuclear Decay How does radiation affect the nucleus of an unstable isotope?

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Nuclear Decay Anytime that an unstable nucleus emits alpha or beta particles, the number of protons or neutrons changes.

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Nuclear Decay Nuclear-decay equations are similar to those used for chemical reactions.

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**10-1-14 Nuclear Decay, continued**

Gamma decay changes the energy of the nucleus, but not the atomic number or the atomic mass of the element.

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**10-1-15 Nuclear Decay, continued**

The atomic number changes during beta decay, but not the mass number.

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**10-1-16 Nuclear Decay, continued**

In beta decay the atomic number of the product nucleus increases by 1 and the atom changes to a different element.

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**10-1-17 Nuclear Decay, continued**

A beta decay process occurs when carbon-14 decays to nitrogen-14 by emitting a beta particle.

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**10-1-18 Nuclear Decay, continued**

Both atomic mass and number change in alpha decay. The atomic mass decrease by 4. The atomic number decreases by 2.

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**Visual Concept: Alpha, Beta, and Gamma Radiation**

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**Math Skills Nuclear Decay**

Actinium-217 decays by releasing an alpha particle. Write the equation for this decay process, and determine which element is formed. 1. Write down the equation with the original element on the left side and the products on the right side. X = unknown product; A = unknown mass; Z = unknown atomic number

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Math Skills, continued 2. Write math equations for the atomic and mass numbers. 217 = A = Z + 2 3. Rearrange the equations. A = 217 – 4 Z = 89 – 2 A = Z = 87 4. Rewrite the equation with all nuclei represented. The unknown decay product has an atomic number of 87, which is francium.

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**Radioactive Decay Rates**

How do scientists predict when an atom will undergo radioactive decay?

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**10-1-19 Radioactive Decay Rates**

half-life: the time required for half of a sample of a radioactive isotope to break down by radioactive decay to form a daughter isotope

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**10-1-20 Radioactive Decay Rates, continued**

Scientists can also use half-life to predict how old an object is.

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Math Skills Half-Life Radium-226 has a half-life of 1,599 years. How long will seven-eighths of a sample of radium-226 take to decay? 1. List the given and unknown values. Given: half-life = 1,599 years fraction of sample decayed = 7/8 Unknown: fraction of sample remaining = ? total time of decay = ?

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Math Skills, continued 2. Calculate the fraction of radioactive sample remaining. 3. Determine how much of the sample is remaining after each half-life.

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Math Skills, continued 4. Multiply the number of half-lives by the time for each half-life to calculate the total time required for the radioactive decay. Each half-life lasts 1,599 years.

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**Radioactive Decay Rates, continued**

Radioactive decay is exponential decay. decay curve: a graph of the number of radioactive parent nuclei remaining in a sample as a function of time Carbon-14 is used to date materials. The ratio of carbon-14 to carbon-12 decreases with time in a nonliving organism. By measuring this ratio and comparing it with the ratio in a living plant or animal, scientists can estimate how long ago the once-living organism died.

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**Radioactive Decay of Carbon-14**

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