Problem: When unstable nuclei decay, they generally decay into a more stable form. In the process, they emit radiation in the form of α particles, β particles, or γ rays. • An α particles is a helium nucleus, the symbol for which is 42 He.• A β particle is a high-speed electron and has the symbol 0-1 e.• A γ ray is a high-energy photon, a form of electromagnetic radiation, and is sometimes symbolized as 00 γ.Part A. What type of radiation must be given off in the following decay reaction?31H → 32He + ?a. α particleb. β particlec. γ rayPart B. What type of radiation must be given off in the following decay reaction?23290Th → 22888Ra + ?a. α particleb. β particlec. γ ray

FREE Expert Solution

We’re being asked to complete the given partial decay reactions


To do so, we need to analyze the product that forms during the decay of the initial nuclide.


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.


The nuclear equation must be balanced with the same total atomic mass and atomic number on both sides.

Step 1: Balance the atomic mass on both sides.

Step 2: Balance the atomic number on both sides.

Step 3: Identify the particle formed.


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Problem Details

When unstable nuclei decay, they generally decay into a more stable form. In the process, they emit radiation in the form of α particles, β particles, or γ rays. 

• An α particles is a helium nucleus, the symbol for which is 4He.

• A β particle is a high-speed electron and has the symbol 0-1 e.

• A γ ray is a high-energy photon, a form of electromagnetic radiation, and is sometimes symbolized as 0γ.

Part A. What type of radiation must be given off in the following decay reaction?

31H → 32He + ?

a. α particle

b. β particle

c. γ ray

Part B. What type of radiation must be given off in the following decay reaction?

23290Th → 22888Ra + ?

a. α particle

b. β particle

c. γ ray

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