Regents Chemistry Vocabulary- Nuclear Chemistry

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Natural transmutation
Natural transmutation
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Also known as radioactive natural decay; when an unstable isotope spontaneously emits a decay particle (alpha, beta or positron) and becomes a new element
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Nuclear fission
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When a large, unstable nucleus is hit with a neutron and splits into two smaller nuclei, which release neutrons that can be used to begin another reaction. Releases a large quantity of energy.
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Nuclear fusion
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When two small, light nuclei come together to form a heavier nucleus; releases a large quantity of energy.
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Half-life
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The amount of time it takes for one half of a radioactive sample to go through a natural transmutation and turn into a more stable element.
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Gamma radiation
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The kind of radiation with the greatest penetrating power; has no mass or charge
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Alpha particles
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radioactive particle with the least penetrating power; has a mass of 4 and a charge of +2
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Artificial transmutation
Artificial transmutation
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When a nucleus is bombarded with a particle to cause a non-spontaneous change to the nucleus (creating a new element)
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Beta particles
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radioactive particle with low penetrating power; has a mass of 0 and a charge of -1
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emanation
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Any radioactive particle or energy released by another radioactive substance.
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ionizing power
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the ability of radiation to remove electrons from other atoms; damages living tissue
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penetrating power
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the ability of radiation to cross barriers; the higher the energy of the radiation, the greater the penetrating power.
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positron
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radioactive particle with low penetrating power; has a mass of 0 and a charge of +1.
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isotope
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atoms of the same element but different in mass; different number of neutrons.
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radioisotope
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an atom with an unstable nucleus due to the unbalanced number of protons and neutrons; emits radioactive particles as it decays.
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spontaneous decay
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Also known as natural transmutation; when an unstable isotope spontaneously emits a decay particle (alpha, beta or positron) and becomes a new element
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theory of relativity
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theory that explains that mass is converted to energy during fission and fusion reactions.
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radioactive dating
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the process of determining the age of rocks or living tissue from the decay of their radioactive elements

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