Radioactive elements To find out what makes an element radiant, it is necessary to point to the structure of atoms of elements in general, where each nucleus contains neutrons in addition to protons. Neutrons are not charged. They are neutral particles. Protons are charged with a positive charge. Protons and neutrons are usually overcrowded in a very small space.
The positive protons in the nucleus repel each other, and this electromagnetic force is countered by the nuclear force that leads to the attraction of the components of the nucleus, so the nucleus remains firm and does not disintegrate. This force is larger than the electromagnetic force, but the extent of its impact is limited only to the size of the nucleus, while the scope of the electromagnetic force is greater, so there is a constant conflict between electromagnetic force and nuclear power. In a uranium nucleus, for example, containing 92 protons, the electromagnetic force becomes much larger than the nuclear force, making the nucleus unstable, causing radioactive decay, and decomposing the uranium into a more stable element.
Radioactivity is the release of nuclei of certain chemical elements such as uranium or the radiation of one of the following particles or radiation:
- Gama is high-frequency electromagnetic radiation.
- Beta particles are electrons or positrons.
- Alpha particles are the nucleus of helium .
When these particles and radiation are emitted, the unstable nucleus becomes a stable nucleus, and this process is called radioactive decay.
Types of radioactive elements(decay)
Radioactive decay may occur in one of three ways:
- Alpha decay: The helium nucleus emits an alpha particle, transforming it into another nucleus with atomic number 2 less and atomic weight 4 less.
- Beta-decay: This type is caused by either an electron or positron emission – an electron particle – and an electron emission causes an atomic number to increase by 1, while a positron emission causes an atomic number to decrease by 1. Sometimes a double beta decay occurs where a beta particle is emitted.
- Gamma decay: When gamma rays are released, the energy level of the nucleus changes.
- Electron capture: This is the rarest method of decay, where the electron is captured or absorbed by the proton. Therefore, the proton turns into a neutron, and then one of the neutrons releases an electron, which results in a decrease in the atomic number, leaving the mass number unchanged.
List of radioactive elements
The following is a list of radioactive elements:
- Technetium (TC) – transition metals
- Promethium (Pm) – rare earth metals
- Polonium – metals
- Acetate (halogenate)
- Radon (Rn) – noble gases
- Franc (Fr) – alkali metals
- Radium (Ra) – earth alkali
- Actinium (Ac) – rare metals
- Thorium (Th) – rare metals
- Protactinium (Pa) – rare metals
- Uranium (U) – rare metals
- Neptunium (Np) – rare metals
- Plutonium (PU) – rare metals
- Americanism (Am) – rare metals
- Curium (Cm) – rare metals
- Berkelium (Bk) – rare metals
- Californium (Cf) – rare metals
- Einsteinium (Es) – rare metals
- Ferrum (Fm) – rare metals
- Mendelevium (Md) – rare metals
- Nobelium (Rare metals)
- Lorenzium (Lr) – rare metals
- Rutherfordium (Rt) – transition elements
- Dubnium (Db) – transition elements
- Siburium (Sg) – transition elements
- Bohrium (Bh) – transition elements
- Hassium (Hs) – transition elements
- Metinium (Mt) – transition elements
Here are some examples of how radioisotopes are used today:
- Home: Most people have radioactive substances in their own homes. For example, in a smoke detector, there is a very small amount of Americanism-241, which is present in the device in the form of oxide and emits alpha particles and low energy gamma rays. Alpha rays are absorbed in the device, but harmless gamma rays can escape, and then alpha particles collide with oxygen and nitrogen in the air of the ionization chamber to detect the production of charged particles or ions. When smoke enters the room, it absorbs alpha particles that disrupt the rate of ionization in the room. The alarm goes off.
- Nuclear power: In conjunction with rising gas prices, many countries have established nuclear power plants, and the first countries established by the Soviet Union, in 1954, where the equivalent of saving 15% of electricity and 6% of the world’s energy from nuclear energy, In addition, they produce toxic nuclear waste that is difficult to remove, and one of the greatest disasters in nuclear power plants is the Chernobyl disaster of 1986.
- Industry: Gamma rays are used to sterilize disposable medical devices, such as injections, gloves, and other instruments that could be damaged if heat-sterilized, and to kill parasites found in wool, wood, and other products. The United States has allowed the meat to be exposed to gamma rays. It is now a common method of sterilization.
- Wars: The only country that actually used nuclear weapons is the United States, where nuclear bombs were dropped on Nagasaki and Hiroshima in Japan. Although people at the scene were killed on the spot, many people died in the months after the explosion as a result of radiation poisoning. This poisoning caused many birth defects; it affected DNA.
- Medication: Radioisotopes are used as tracers in medical research, where people ingest these isotopes, which allow scientists to study processes such as digestion, identifying diseases such as cancer, obstructions within the digestive system, and radioactive elements are used to clean blood vessels and eliminate cancer.
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