Alpha Decay

Read this text, which introduces alpha decay and provides an example of an alpha-decay equation. Notice that an alpha particle is helium. Take note of the conditions listed that must be met when writing an alpha decay reaction.

Uranium-238 decomposes by the loss of an α particle:

^{238}_{92}\text{U}\rightarrow ^{234}_{90}\text{Th}+^{4}_{2}\text{He}

From this decay, it should be noted that:

  1. The sum of the mass numbers on the left and right of the equation is the same.
  2. The sum of the atomic number on the left and right is the same.

Thus, the reaction does not create or destroys neither protons nor neutrons. Another example of α-decay is as follows:

^{210}_{84}\text{Po}\rightarrow ^{206}_{82}\text{Pb}+^{4}_{2}\text{He}

Source: Andrew R. Barron,
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Last modified: Monday, May 17, 2021, 3:32 PM