It comes from the natural radioactive decay of isotopes in rocks and from the sun cosmic radiation. These sources are usually not strong enough to cause any immediate danger to living things current research is still investigating any long-term effects on living things. To ensure a reasonably accurate count it is important to take a background count before commencing readings from a source. Use the following to carry out an experiment to distinguish between the different types of radiation and to observe their penetration power. Choose one source of each type of radiation at a distance of mm. Record your results after printing out the blank spreadsheet.
Share this Article Ionizing radiation takes a few forms: Alpha, beta, and neutron particles, and gamma and X-rays. All types are caused by unstable atoms, which have either an excess of energy or mass or both. In order to reach a stable state, they must release that extra energy or mass in the form of radiation. Alpha Radiation Alpha radiation:
By knowing the ability of the different types of radiation to penetrate matter allows us to gain an understanding on how best to protect ourselves. The animation below shows the penetrating properties of radiations. Penetration of Alpha Particles Alpha particles can be absorbed by a thin sheet of paper or by a few centimetres of air. As alpha particles travel through air they collide with nitrogen and oxygen molecules. With each collision they lose some of their energy in ionising the air molecule until eventually they give up all of their energy and are absorbed.
All substance are made of atoms. These have electrons e around the outside, and a nucleus in the middle. The nucleus consists of protons p and neutrons n , and is extremely small.