Oliver Thewalt

    Oliver Thewalt

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    Michael Balmer Notes about Radioactivity

    By Michael Balmer

    There are about 2,450 known isotopes of the approximately one hundred elements in the Periodic Table. You can imagine the size of a table of isotopes relative to that of the Periodic Table! The unstable isotopes lie above or below the Nuclear Stability Curve. These unstable isotopes attempt to reach the stability curve by splitting into fragments, in a process called Fission, or by emitting particles and/or energy in the form of radiation. This latter process is called Radioactivity.

    It is useful to dwell for a few moments on the term radioactivity. For example what has nuclear stability to do with radio? From a historical perspective remember that when these radiations were discovered about 100 years ago we did not know exactly what we were dealing with. When people like Henri Becquerel and Marie Curiewere working initially on these strange emanations from certain natural materials it was thought that the radiations were somehow related to another phenomenon which also was not well understood at the time - that of radio communication. It seems reasonable on this basis to appreciate that some people considered that the two phenomena were somehow related and hence that the materials which emitted radiation were termed radio-active.

    We know today that the two phenomena are not directly related but we nevertheless hold onto the term radioactivity for historical purposes. But it should be quite clear to you having reached this stage of this chapter that the term radioactive refers to the emission of particles and/or energy from unstable isotopes. Unstable isotopes for instance those that have too many protons to remain a stable entity are called radioactive isotopes - and called radioisotopes for short. The termradionuclide is also sometimes used.

    Finally about 300 of the 2,450-odd isotopes mentioned above are found in nature. The rest are man-made, that is they are produced artificially. These 2,150 or so artificial isotopes have been made during the last 100 years or so with most having been made since the second world war.


    Credit :wikipedia



    We know there are variuos forms of radiation and these forms are the Electromagnetic spectrum,but Radioactivity,this is the condition of which stability in degrees of the system is in excitation due to interactions with fields or particles,"Degrees of the system"..this i would like for you to keep in mind as we progress in this discussion,we know of fission,we know of fusion,we know how and why of these two types of atomic procedures,both in nature (natural occurrence ) or( spontanous can also be termed) manipulated,there is photo electric,photo nuclear etc...these are causes of radioactivity,the capture process and or emission of "energy",particles or charge,EMR electromanetic radiation,meaning electron or photon interaction within various fields or conditions to visible light and to X and Gamma frequencies to hypothesis,meaning beyond the spectrum,though electron and photon emunations are approximately 80% of the spectrum,the higher and more "destructive" forms of radiation is the radioactivity of the Nucleus,the productions of X and G occur here,as the exert above states,about 300 of 2,450 are found in nature,on a personal note...i have graphed and charted 2,200 of the 2,450 over a two year period,about the remaining?unimportant in relationships,and the importance of this?to identify and resolute radioisotopes,to understand radioactivity and the result (radiation) you must understand the workings of the nucleus and the nuclei,to understand the workings you must understand the structure,the shell,the energy levels,the positions of the nuclei in accordance to bands and Principles in physics...Nuclear Physics...since around 1963 nobelist Maria Goeppert Mayer and J. Hans D. Jensen shared for the developement of the Nuclear shell model of atomic nuclei the use of this model was ideal for applications of the times,however it is insufficiant on the terms of radioisotopes,we know much in the way of how elements radiate in their radioactive state but not enough on the exact cause,this "cause " is not the interactions but the shell and the level of "energy" flux per,so the question here is more than why or how an element/atom is radioactive but what "Degrees of the system" is radioactive..it's radioactivity.


    we will use this Electronic Configuration:




    1s1 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 3d10 4s2 4p6 5s2


    we will use this Nuclear Configuration:


    1D2/2   1F8/8   1G8/12   1H17/20   2D1/6   2F2/1


    i know the EC is familiar and the NC is not, but that will come.

    this is the most abundant stable isotope, it is Strontium 87


    with the same electronic configuration, we move to the Nuclear configuration:


    1D2/2   1F8/8   1G8/12   1H17/20   2D1/6   2F2/4


    this is the Nuclear Configuration of Sr90 strontium 90


    This element (Sr87)has application in daily use,it is found in seawater and has an acceptable level to biologicals.

    This element (Sr90) the same cannot be said for,it is a waste product of reactors and of nuclear weapons.

    Now i picked these to illustrate because over the last 27 years we have grown to know the name.


    Now as i said the NC is not familiar to you but there are two points of interest you can follow without the knowledge of the configuration.


    Point 1...Sr87 ends with 2F2/1

                 Sr90 ends with 2F2/4


    Point 2...the NC for both isotopes is equivalent to this point.



    This is how the determination of the radioactivity of this isotope is perfomed,we determine why the differential in the stable and the not stable,what is the difference of the two of the same atom,the entire structure..atomic and nuclear are the same with a very small change in the structure at a point,it's "Degrees of the system ".

    Let us return for a moment to the causes of Radioactivity :

    interactions with particles and or fields



    decay from fission/fusion


    Through these events the separation,increase and decrease of energy,matter or charge and a note here is "decrease",emission is not the only release during the radioactive state of an atom,as much as the increase in the property is the decrease as well causing instability and radioactivity of an element,in another term..excitation,this term is equal whether an increase or decrease occurs in an atom,either way it is radioactive.to put it this way..to gain what has been lost or to lose what has been gained.

     To illustrate the "decrease" in the nuclear structure shown next is the same isotope Strontium :





    1D2/2   1F8/8   1G8/12   1H17/18   2D1/6   2F2/1


    i will end this discussion here and return to it later,look over the construct


    note:copy or share of the noted discussion requires approval...ask first