Nuclear Chemistry Vocabulary Answers

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Radiation
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a general term for any type of energy that emanates or radiates outward in all directions
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Electromagnetic Radiation (ER)
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radiation moving at the speed of light, ranging from high-energy gamma rays to low energy radio waves; includes visible light
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Electromagnetic Spectrum
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all the forms of electromagnetic radiation
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Ionizing Radiation
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radiation with sufficient energy to ionize atoms or molecules (high energy ER); damages DNA
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Non-ionizing Radiation
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radiation with insufficient energy to ionize atoms or molecules (lower energy ER)
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Marie Curie
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studied radioactivity and completed much of the pioneering work on nuclear changes. Won two Nobel Prizes (the first for discovering radioactivity; the second for discovering the radioactive elements of radium and polonium)
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Nuclear Reactions
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Involve Changes in Particles in an atom’s nucleus and thus cause a change in the atom itself
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Isotope
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atoms of the same element having different numbers of neutrons and, there, a different mass number and atomic mass
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Hyphen Notation
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(example) U-238
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Nuclear Notation
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(example)14 C 6
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Transmutation
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change in the identity of a nucleus because of a change in the number of its protons
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Radioactive Isotope
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an isotope with an unstable nucleus that undergoes radioactive decay
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Radioactive Decay
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the spontaneous break-down of a nucleus into a slightly light nucleus, accompanied by the emission of nuclear radiation
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Nuclear Radiation
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particles or ER emitted from a nucleus during radioactive decay
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Alpha Particle
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helium nucleus (charge: +2); 2 protons and 2 neutrons bound together emitted from a radioactive nucleus
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Beta Particle
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electron (charge: -); ejected at a high speed when a neutron changes into a proton and an electron
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Gamma Ray
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form of high-energy ER (no mass/no charge); often emitted during and simultaneous to, alpha or beta, radioactive decay
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Half-Life
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time needed for decay of one-half the atoms in a sample of radioactive material
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Nuclear Bombardment
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nucleus is bombarded with alpha particles, protons, neutrons, or other particles
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Nuclear Fission
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process in which a heavy nucleus splits to form medium-weight nuclei
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Chain Reaction
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in fission reactions, neutrons are emitted; these neutrons can split more nuclei and a chain reaction can occur
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Critical Mass
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mass of fissionable material needed to sustain a nuclear chain reaction
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Nuclear Fusion
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the process in which light weight nuclei combine to form a heavier, more stable nucleus
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Mass Defect
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the missing mass of a nuclear reaction that is converted to energy

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