Radioactivity Alpha, Beta and Gamma Particles/Rays and Their Properties
When the atoms are undergoing radioactivity, then there is the emission of particles like the alpha, beta, and gamma rays. The radioactivity is occurring due to the unstable atoms, which are trying to attain stability. So, when the atoms are unstable, then eventually, they are decaying by emitting the particles and causes the transformation of the nucleus to another nucleus or simply into the nucleus of a lower energy state. Normally, the decays of radioactive rates are stated in terms of half-lives and the half-life of radioactive elements is greatly dependent on the risk of radioactivity.
Due to different types of radioactivity, there is an occurrence of different decay paths which causes the transformation of nuclei to the other chemical elements. By examining the amounts of decay products, radioactive dating becomes possible. There is an equal distribution of radiation emitted from radioactive resources in all directions. This distribution of radiation obeys the inverse square law.
Properties of Alpha Rays
The alpha rays or alpha particles are having a positive charge. The helium nucleus is highly energetic, containing two neutrons and protons, and it is known as an alpha particle. These particles have the greatest ionization power, but lower penetration power. Their penetration to the skin is not possible, but they are dangerous. They can cause significant damage to the body due to their greater ionization power. The radioactive substances that are releasing alpha particles should be handled with rubber gloves.
Properties of Beta Rays
Beta rays are electrons that are having high energy and they are released from inside of the nucleus. Their mass is negligible and they are negatively charged. By the emission of beta particles, the neutrons are divided into proton and electron in the nucleus. So, a beta particle is also electron, but it is being rejected by the nucleus at higher speeds. They have greater penetration power and can penetrate through the skin.
Properties of Gamma Rays
The gamma rays are waves, which do not have any mass but have the high-frequency end of the electromagnetic spectrum. These rays have the greatest power of penetration. They cause the least ionization, but it is extremely difficult to stop their entrance to the body. A huge amount of energy is associated with these rays and they can travel through thick concrete and thin lead. These rays are traveling with the speed of light and just like the x rays they are diffracted. On the photographic plate, the gamma rays produce the fluorescence effect.