Radiation Rays: Alpha, Beta and Gamma
The nucleus of radioactive material emits three different types of radiation rays called alpha beta and gamma, due to the distinct electrical charge, characteristics of the alpha beta and gamma rays, they can be separated by directing a beam from a radioactive source through a magnetic field.
Alpha rays carry particles originating from the nucleus of a radioactive atom. These particles consist of two protons and two neutrons.
Essentially, they are positively charged helium atoms, stripped of their electrons. The magnet causes.
These particles, in the alpha ray to bend in one direction beta rays, are a stream of negatively charged electrons after passing, through the magnet they Bend in the opposite direction of the alpha ray, because electrons of the beta ray have less mass than the protons and neutrons.
In the alpha ray, the beta ray undergoes a more pronounced Bend.
Gamma rays are pure energy, because a gamma ray has neither mass nor charge it remains unaffected by the magnetic field.
The unique characteristics of these three types of radiation affect their capacity to penetrate various materials, whereas an alpha particle is stopped by a sheet of paper.
A beta particle easily passes through paper, but is stopped by aluminium.
A gamma ray is not impeded by the paper or aluminum, but it’s progress can be stopped by lead.
The degree to which each of these three forms of radiation penetrate human tissue is the basis for limiting a person’s exposure to radioactive material.
In terms of the impact of radiation on the human body, alpha particles are generally stopped by the outer layer of skin and pose no real harm to the underlying tissue.
Beta particles, however, are not stopped by the protective layer of skin and can damage deep, sensitive tissue. Gamma rays likewise, can penetrate deep into the body and cause harm.
This is why it is necessary to wear specialized protective gear when working with radioactive materials.
When a neutron is fired at high speed into an atom of uranium, it will split the atom in a process called fission.
The stability of the nucleus of an atom is maintained by the balance between the repulsive electrical force among protons and the attractive nuclear forces holding the nucleus together with uranium.
This balance is unstable.
Thus, when a fast-moving neutron collides with the nucleus of uranium-235, it is stretched into an elongated shape.
This elongated shape tips, the balance in favor of the repulsive forces and the uranium-235 atom splits into fragments of Krypton and barium.
Three neutrons are also generated from this powerful release of energy.
The three forcefully ejected neutrons can each strike an atom of uranium, resulting in the case of an atomic bomb.
A catastrophic chain reaction.
The nuclear fission process is also the source of energy used to operate nuclear power plants in a controlled environment.
The tremendous heat generated by splitting uranium-235 is used to produce steam that drives turbines to generate electricity.