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Atomic Structure

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A Helium Atom
Neutron

{
Electron Nucleus Proton Particle Proton Neutron Electron Mass Charge

1 1
1/1840th

+1
none -1
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Nucleon number Proton number

A Z

12 6

X H

Symbol of the element

7 3

Li
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1 1

2 1

3 1

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4 2

He

3 2

He

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12 6

14 6

Now lets have a closer look at the nuclei of these isotopes.


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12 6

14 6 7

C N

Carbon-12 is stable but Carbon-14 is unstable (a radio-isotope). Carbon-14 emits a beta particle and decays to become nitrogen
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Calculate the number of protons, electrons and neutrons shown below -

12

13

14

C
6 6

C
6

C
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Notes from Syllabus:


An atom has a small central nucleus made from protons and neutrons surrounded by electrons. All atoms in an element have the same number of protons. An atom can have different isotopes (different number of neutrons).

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Half Life

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How about with Real Atoms


Look at the generated graph. How long does it take for of the atoms to decay? How long for 3/4? How long for 7/8? How long for 15/16

Decay

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Half Life
Half-life is the time it takes for half of the atoms of a sample to decay.
For example: A student was testing a sample of 8 grams of radioactive protactinium. Protactinium has a a half life of 1 minute and decays into actinium. After 1 minute there would be 4 g of protactinium (and 4 g of actinium). After 2 minutes there would be 2 g of protactinium remaining (and now 6g of actinium). After 3 minutes there would be 1 g of protactinium remaining (and now 7g of actinium)

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Dating materials using half-lives


Question: Uranium decays into lead. The half life of uranium is 4,000,000 years. A sample of radioactive rock contains 7 times as much lead as it does uranium. Calculate the age of the sample.

Answer: The sample was originally completely uranium

1 half life later

1 half life later

1 half life later

8 8
of the sample was uranium

4 8
Now only 4/8 of the uranium remains the other 4/8 is lead

2 8
Now only 2/8 of uranium remains the other 6/8 is lead

1
8
Now only 1/8 of uranium remains the other 7/8 is lead

So it must have taken 3 half lives for the sample to decay until only 1/8 remained (which means that there is 7 times as much lead). Each half life is 4,000,000 years so the sample is 12,000,000 years old. Home

An exam question
Potassium decays into argon. The half life of potassium is 1.3 billion years. A sample of rock from Mars is found to contain three argon atoms for every atom of potassium. How old is the rock?

(3 marks)

The rock must be 2 half lives old 2.6 billion years

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Notes from Syllabus:


Radioactive substances emit radiation from the nuclei of their atoms all the time. The half-life of a radioactive isotope is Either the time it takes for the number of nuclei of the isotope in a sample to halve or the time it takes for the count rate from a sample containing the isotope to fall to half its initial level.

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Types of Radiation

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Types of Radiation [Use all of the other side of the paper]


Alpha Description Electric Charge Relative Atomic Mass Penetrating Power Ionising Effect Effect of Magnetic / Electric Field Beta Gamma

Uses
Dangers

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What is radioactive decay?

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How do materials affect radiation?

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How do magnetic fields effect radiation?

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Using the information on the following slides to fill in your table


Movie

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What is alpha () radiation?


Description
2 neutrons, 2 protons Note: An alpha particle is the same as a helium nucleus Electric charge +2 4 Stopped by paper or a few centimetres of air Strongly ionizing

Relative atomic mass


Penetrating power Ionizing effect

Effect of magnetic/ electric field

Weakly deflected
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What is beta () radiation?


Description
High energy electron

Electric charge

-1 1/1860 Stopped by a few millimetres of aluminium Weakly ionizing Strongly deflected


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Relative atomic mass


Penetrating power Ionizing effect Effect of magnetic/ electric field

Gamma () radiation
Description
High energy electromagnetic radiation 0 0
Stopped by several centimetres of lead or several metres of concrete

Electric charge

Relative atomic mass


Penetrating power Ionizing effect Effect of magnetic/ electric field

Very weakly ionizing Not deflected


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Types of radiation and penetrating power

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Types of radiation and range in air

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Uses

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What is radiation used for?

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How can radiation detect a fire?


Smoke alarms contain a weak source of alpha radiation.

The alpha particles ionize the air.


If there is smoke present, it interacts with the ions produced by the alpha particles and ionization is reduced. smoke particle

This means that less current is flowing through the air, which causes the alarm to sound.

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How is radiation used in making paper?

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How can radiation find leaks in pipes?

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How can radiation detect cracks?


Gamma rays can also be used to detect cracks after an object has been welded. Gamma rays are like X-rays. welded metal pipe welding flaws If a gamma source is placed on one side of the welded metal, and a photographic film on the other side, any flaws will show up on the film like an X-ray.

photographic film

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Microbes can be killed using gamma radiation

High Level nuclear waste

Increasing dose

tumour

healthy brain tissue

view through the head

Gamma rays can be used to treat brain tumours skull

Uses of radiation activity

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Dangers

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Dangers of ionizing radiations

Fill in the last part of your table

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Radiation safety
The three types of radiation differ in their effects and physical nature. All radioactive sources must be handled safely. The hazard symbol for radiation is shown below:

As well as the normal laboratory safety rules you follow, are there any extra rules concerning radioactivity?
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How are radioactive sources used safely?


Radioactive materials could be very dangerous to handle if no safety precautions were taken. This is because people and their clothing could become contaminated. The safety precautions are: keep exposure times as short as possible monitor exposure with a film dose badge label radioactive sources clearly store radioactive sources in shielded containers wear protective clothing use tongs or a robotic arm to handle radioactive materials.
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Write down on first side of the paper

Background radiation
Background radiation is the radiation all around us. Most of the radioactivity you are exposed to is from natural sources. How many different sources of background radiation can you think of?

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Calculating background radiation

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