We’re being asked to determine what kind of decay corresponds to the the arrows labeled x and y in the following graph:
Recall that in a nuclear reaction, the number of protons and neutrons is affected and the identity of the element changes.
The different types of radioactive decay are:
• Alpha decay: forms an alpha particle (42α, atomic mass = 4, atomic number = 2)
• Beta decay: forms a beta particle (0–1β, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = –1). The beta particle appears in the product side.
• Gamma emission: forms a gamma particle (00γ, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = 0)
• Positron emission: forms a positron particle (01e, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = 1)
• Electron capture: the initial nuclide captures an electron
(0–1e, atomic mass = 0, atomic number = –1).
The electron appears in the reactant side.