11 terms

Radioactivity Vocabulary

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Strong Force
force that acts between protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus and keeps them together
Radioactivity
process of nuclear decay that takes place where the strong force is not able to hold unstable nuclei together permanently.
Alpha particle
particle with a +2 electrical charge and atomic mass of 4 that is made of two protons and two neutrons and is emitted from a decaying atomic nucleus.
Transmutation
process of changing one element to another element through radioactive decay.
Beta particle
electron with an atomic mass of 0 and a -1 electrical charge that is emitted at high speed from a decaying atomic nucleus.
Gamma ray
electromagnetic wave with no mass and no charge that travels at the speed of light and is usually emitted with alpha or beta particles.
Half-life
amount of time it takes for help the nuclei in a sample of a radioactive isotope to decay.
Geiger counter
device that measures radioactivity by producing an electric current when radiation is present; emits a clicking noise or flashing light.
Nuclear Fission
process of splitting a large atomic nucleus into two nuclei with smaller masses.
Nuclear Fusion
process of fusing together two atomic nuclei with low masses to form one nucleus with a larger mass.
Chain Reaction
ongoing series of fission reactions.
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