Nuclear equations


Nuclear equations are used to represent radioactive decay.

In a nuclear equation an alpha particle may be represented by the symbol:

and a beta particle by the symbol:

The emission of the different types of nuclear radiation may cause a change in the mass and /or the charge of the nucleus. For example:

So beta decay does not cause the mass of the nucleus to change but does cause the charge of the nucleus to increase.

Students are not required to recall these two examples.

Students should be able to use the names and symbols of common nuclei and particles to write balanced equations that show single alpha (α) and beta (β) decay. This is limited to balancing the atomic numbers and mass numbers. The identification of daughter elements from such decays is not required.

The emission of a gamma ray does not cause the mass or the charge of the nucleus to change.

WS 1.4 Explain everyday and technological applications of science; evaluate associated personal, social, economic and environmental implications; and make decisions based on the evaluation of evidence and arguments.

WS 1.5 -Evaluate risks both in practical science and the wider societal context, including perception of risk in relation to data and consequences.

MS 1b -Recognise and use expressions in standard form

MS 1c -Use ratios, fractions and percentages

MS 3c -Substitute numerical values into algebraic equations using appropriate units for physical quantities







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Radiation vs Radioactive Atoms.mp4