Nuclear chemistry creates many different phenomena that interest chemi
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Nuclear chemistry creates many different phenomena that interest chemists, from the new chemical tools they provide to the subtle changes in chemical behaviors because of the differences in the nuclei. Nuclear chemists focus mainly on the differences and similarities of an elements isotopes, weather they are stable or radioactive isotopes. But what is nuclear chemistry? We will explore that in this paper, starting with atomic structure: what is an atom make up of, Quantum mechanics, probability of finding electrons, the structure of a nucleus and stuff like that. Then we'll talk about radioactivity and nuclear reactions, so stuff like: alpha ray emission, how all elements are able to be radioactive, negative beta decay and electron capture. The third thing we will explore is the interaction of radiation with matter: energy emission, absorption curves, the two things that can happen when alpha or beta particles interact with an atom, the four things that could happen when gamma rays interact with an atom; like the photoelectron process and the Compton effect. After that, we will talk about the detection of nuclear radiation: ion collection, how an ion detector works and the scintillation process. The fifth thing we will explore is radioactive decay laws: mostly equations, like the activity of a sample, half life and so forth. Then, after we understand all of this we will examine some applications of nuclear chemistry: like how an atomic bomb is created, fission and fusion and the use of fusion to produce heat.
The structure of an atom as we know it now is made up of a dense center called a nucleus, which consists of protons and neutrons, and with electrons moving around it on certain paths of motion. Protons are positively charged particles, neutrons have no charge and electrons are negatively charged particles. Electrons also have various energy levels, which is stated in quantum mechanics. These different energy levels are used to describe the electrons found in them. The energy level nearest to the nucleus is called the k level, the next is called the l level, and continues on. These are principal levels, in them there are sublevels. The sublevels are described using the letters s, p, d, f, g, h, and so forth. The primary principle of quantum mechanics says that only specific energy levels are possible for electrons. The different levels are numbered as k level having n=1, l level having n=2, and on like so (n stands for principle quantum number) . The second principle of quantum mechanics says that the amount of electrons per level is limited to 2n².
Example: If you were in the k level the most electrons you could have would be 2(1)², which equals 2.
The third principle of quantum mechanics says that each principal electron level can have a number of sublevels equal to its principle quantum number. So k level where n=1 could only have one sublevel, l level could have two sublevels, and on. Each sublevel is also limited to the number of electrons it can have, s sublevel can hold 2, p can hold 6, d can hold 10, and continues like this in increments of 4. Also not all levels and sublevels are filled in order, for example 4s sublevel is filled before the 3d sublevel because it's energy level is lower. To know which level or sublevel to fill first just follow the arrows in this chart, starting with the arrow passing through 1s.
Another thing about electrons is that it is impossible to know the energy and position of an electron at the same time. We can only know the probability of finding the position of an electron at a given time. To do this we use diagrams:
The squiggly lines represent the electrons paths and the darker the area the better the odds of finding an electron there.
a) is the outside view
b) is the view when cut vertically
c is the view when cut horizontally
Now that we understand about the electrons it's time to learn about the nucleus. The number of protons in the nucleus is equal to the atomic number of that element, so hydrogen would have one, helium would have two, and so forth. The number of neutrons is equal to the atomic mass number minus the atomic number, so
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Radioactivity, Nuclear physics, Nuclear chemistry, Radiation, Nucleons, Neutron, Beta particle, Nuclear reaction, Ionizing radiation, Radioactive decay, Atom, Alpha particle
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