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Topic 11: Nuclear Radiation (Quiz)
Terms in this set (38)
What are the sources of background radiation?
- radon gas
- ground and buildings
- food and drink
- cosmic rays
- nuclear power and weapons
How is background radiation (or any radiation) measured?
Using a Geiger-Müller tube and counter
What are the three main types of nuclear radiation?
What is an alpha particle?
It is composed of two protons and two neutrons (He nucleus) - positively charge
What is a beta particle?
An electron emitted at high speed from the nucleus when a neutron decays into a proton - single negative charge
What is gamma rays?
High energy, high frequency EM radiation
Which type of radiation is the most ionising?
Alpha particles - relatively large particles so they interact with other particles
Which is the most penetrating type of radiation?
Gamma rays - no charge or mass, so rarely interact with particles in their path
How can you block alpha particles?
Skin or paper
How can you block beta particles?
Several metres of air, thin sheet of aluminium
How can you block gamma rays?
Never completely absorbed
Energy can be significantly decreased by several centimetres of lead or several metres of contrete
Are alpha particles more dangerous inside or outside the body?
Inside the body - they are highly ionising so can cause poisoning and cancer.
Outside the body it is absorbed by surface of skin (dead cells) - no danger
Are beta particles more dangerous inside or outside the body?
Both - moderately ionising and so close exposure should be minimised
Are gamma rays more dangerous inside or outside the body?
Neither - minimally ionising so can cause cancer from longer term exposure, but not on the short term
What is the rough mass of protons and neutron?
What is the rough mass of an electron?
What is the equation for mass deficit?
total mass of nucleons - mass of nucleus
What is nuclear binding energy?
the energy needed to hold the nucleus together
What is 1 atomic mass unit in electronvolts?
1u = 931.5 MeV
What type of nuclear reaction occurs in stars?
Nuclear fusion - combining of light nuclei with one another to form a new, heavier nucleus. Some of the mass is converted to energy.
Which element is used in nuclear reactions as the most common starting point?
What is the function of control rods in a fission nuclear reactor?
Control the rate of reaction so that the chain reaction is just self sustaining or critical. They absorb neutrons from the reactor core so that, on average, one neutron from each fission reaction goes on to cause a further fission.
What is a suitable material for control rods in a fission nuclear reactor?
Cadmium or Boron
What physical property must the material for control rods have in a fission nuclear reactor?
The control rod material must be a good absorber of neutrons
What is the function of the coolant in a fission nuclear reactor?
Transfers heat energy away from the reactor core to heat up steam that will eventually turn turbine and drive an electricity generator
What is a suitable material for the coolant in a fission nuclear reactor?
Water or carbon dioxide gas
What physical property must the material for the coolant have in a fission nuclear reactor?
The coolant must have a high heat capacity to transfer as much heat energy as possible
What is the function of the thick shield in a fission nuclear reactor?
Prevents harmful radiation from escaping the reactor core. It absorbs neutrons, beta particles and gamma photons
What is a suitable material for the thick shield in a fission nuclear reactor?
What physical property must the material for the thick shield have in a fission nuclear reactor?
The thick concrete shield must be a good absorber of radiation
What is the equation for mass defect?
Mass defect = mass of all reactants - mass of all products
What is the binding energy?
binding energy = energy needed to tear a nucleus apart into individual protons/neutrons
When is binding energy per nucleon highest?
When the nucleus is most stable - occurs for iron usually
What is annihilation?
Annihilation is the reaction in which a particle and its antiparticle collide and disappear, releasing energy. The most common annihilation on Earth occurs between an electron and its antiparticle, a positron
What does a high binding energy mean?
High degree of stability - would require a lot of energy to take these nuclei apart
What type of nuclear decay with all very large nuclei undergo during their decay series?
Alpha decay - must reduce number of nucleons in their nucleus
What type of nuclei undergo beta-minus decay
nuclei to the left of the stability line i.e. neutron rich nuclei
What type of nuclei undergo beta-plus decay?
nuclei to the right of the stability line i.e. proton-rich, small nuclei
THIS SET IS OFTEN IN FOLDERS WITH...
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Topic 11: Nuclear Radiation
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