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Lecture 7

Lecture 7 - Nuclear Power 1

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Natural Science
NATS 1760
Darrin Durant

Atoms Electric Charge: - It’s just an aspect of matter - Same = repel; opposite = attract Nucleons: - Neutron: carries no electric charge - Proton: one unit of positive electric charge Electron: - one unit of negative electric charge Forces: ways that matter interacts - Gravitational: weak; only good for very large things - Electric: a long-range force - Nuclear: short-range; acts between nucleons; always attractive Atomic Nucleus: - a group of nucleons Atoms: - a nucleus surrounded by a number of electrons (typically equal to the protons in the nucleus) - Mostly empty space Elements & Isotopes Element: - A single atom; behaves in a chemically unique way (according to electron number) Atomic Number: - Number of protons in a nucleus - Eg.: Uranium (92), Plutonium ( 94) Mass number - Total number of nucleons Isotopes - Nuclei of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons (and different masses) Stable nuclei: - Roughly equal neturon & proton numbers Unstable nuclei: too far from equality - Electrical repulsion of widely separated protons - Eg.: no stable isotopes above Bismuth (83) Radioactive decay: - When unstable nuclei come apart Radioactivity To be “radioactive” is to contain unstable nuclei Alpha (a) decay - A helium-4 (He) particle is spat out (2 protons (+), 2 neutrons (n)) - Large mass but low speed = easy absorption - Avoid ingestion - Electrically charged (+) - E.g.: Plutonium, Uranium, Thorium Beta (b) decay - Typically a neutron (
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