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Unit 13

Chapter Overview
During this unit, the concepts of nuclear chemistry are introduced.  These include the characteristics of alpha and beta particles and gamma radiation; the process of
radioactive decay and balancing nuclear reactions; and a comparison of fission and fusion.

Main Ideas
Radioactive isotopes undergo changes to become stable.
Alpha, beta, and gamma radiation have distinguishing characteristics and result from different nuclear reactions.
A balanced nuclear reaction balances charge and mass.
Nuclear fission and fusion reactions liberate very large amounts of energy.
The scientific understanding of radioactivity and fission and fusion reactions is relatively recent.

Students may think nuclear chemistry involves weapons and electricity.
Students may not understand the electromagnetic spectrum.
Students may not understand the differences between particles and radiation.



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