3rd December 2019

arpansa
15

What causes an atom to become radioactive?

Atoms found in nature are either stable or unstable. An atom is unstable (radioactive) if these forces are unbalanced; if the nucleus has an excess of internal energy. Instability of an atom's nucleus may result from an excess of either neutrons or protons.

Similarly, you may ask, do atoms decay over time?

Since an atom has a finite number of protons and neutrons, it will generally emit particles until it gets to a point where its half-life is so long, it is effectively stable. It undergoes something known as “alpha decay,” and it's half-life is over a billion times longer than the current estimated age of the universe.

What happens in a beta decay?

Beta decay occurs when, in a nucleus with too many protons or too many neutrons, one of the protons or neutrons is transformed into the other. In beta minus decay, a neutron decays into a proton, an electron, and an antineutrino: n Æ p + e - +.
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