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40 Cards in this Set

  • Front
  • Back
Natural radioactivity
the spontaneous emission of particles or energy from an atomic nucleus as it disintegrates
Alpha particle
nucleus of a Helium atom, 2 p+ & 2 n0
Beta particle
high energy electron
Gamma ray
electromagnetic radiation of very short wavelength
Radioactive decay
the natural spontaneous disintegration or decomposition of a
nuclear force
a strong fundamental force, force of attraction that only works at very short distances
Protons and neutrons in the nucleus are in moving...
energy levels, or shells, just as the electrons are - some arrangements are more stable than others.
Generally… the nucleus is more stable if the protons and neutrons are both
in even numbers.
All isotopes with an atomic number greater than...
83 are unstable.
another term for protons and neutrons
atomic number, determines what element it is
Number of p+
can vary, represented as an isotope
Number of n0
Radioactive decay allows an unstable nucleus to become...
more stable with less energy.
Alpha emission
the release of an alpha particle from a disintegrating nucleus
Alpha emission
can travel 2-12 cm through the air
Beta emission
the release of a beta particle from a disintegrating nucleus, this process increases the number of protons in a nucleus
Beta emission
a neutron changes to a proton by emitting the electron
Beta emission
they are more penetrating and can travel several hundred centimeters in air
Gamma emission
the release of a high-energy burst of electromagnetic
Gamma emission
this can be caused from the other types of decay, once alpha or beta decay takes place, the nucleus is left in a high-energy state
Gamma emission
Nucleons don’t change in this type of emission
Gamma emission
most penetrating
Gamma emission
can be stopped by a piece of lead close to the source
Gamma emission
used to kill many parasites and bacteria in the foods we eat
Radioactive decay series
a process continuing through a series of decay reactions until a stable nucleus is achieved
the time required for 1/2 of the unstable nuclei to decay
Instruments for Measuring Radioactivity
Photographic film & Geiger counters
Radioactivity can be measured at
1.) the source of radioactivity & 2.) the place of reception, where radiation is absorbed
Activity of a source
a measure of the number of nuclear disintegration per unit of time
Units for measuring the activity of a source
curie (Ci) or Becquerel (Bq)
More specific measurements deal with amount of radiation received by humans is expressed in terms of radiological dose in units of...
A regular person in one day will receive about...
1 millirem
Background radiation
low amounts of radiation from natural sources
Nuclear fission
splitting a massive nucleus into more stable, less massive nuclei with the release of energy
Chain reaction
a reaction where the products are able to produce more reactions in a self-sustaining series
Critical mass
the mass and concentration of nuclei that is sufficient to sustain
Nuclear fusion
less massive nuclei coming together to form more stable and
One problem with developing nuclear fusion
1.) temperature - nuclei repel one another unless they have enough energy, approximately 100 million °C
One problem with developing nuclear fusion
2.) density - heavy hydrogen nuclei needed, 1 x 1014 /cm3
One problem with developing nuclear fusion
3.) time - must be sustained at a minimum of 10 atm at this density