Radioactive decay Flashcards Preview

MCAT Gen. Chem > Radioactive decay > Flashcards

Flashcards in Radioactive decay Deck (5):

alpha decay

the loss of an alpha particle, which is a helium nucleus containing 2 protons and 2 neutrons

--mass number decreases by 4
--atomic number decreases by 2


beta decay

the breakdown of a neutron into a proton and an electron

--the mass number stays the same
--the atomic number goes up by one and is balanced by adding an electron to the right side of the equation


positron emission

a type of beta decay

emission of a positron when a proton becomes a neutron

--the atomic number goes down by 1


electron capture

a type of beta decay

capture of an electron and merging it with a proton to create a neutron

A proton is destroyed and a neutron is created: mass numbers stays the same; atomic number goes down by 1


gamma decay

gamma ray has no mass or charge and does not change identity of the atom from which it is given off

an electron and positron collide to produce gamma rays in a process known as ANNIHILATION