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Chapter 23
Nuclear Chemistry
This chapter discusses nuclear reactions, the stability of atomic nucleus, radioactivity, and the
effects of radiation on biological systems. Upon completion of this chapter, your students should
be able to:
1.
Compare chemical and nuclear reactions.
2.
State the charge, mass, and symbol for each of the following:
•
proton
•
neutron
•
electron or beta particle
•
positron
•
alpha particle
3.
Balance nuclear equations using the concepts of conservation of mass and atomic
numbers.
4.
Explain how nuclei having a neutrontoproton ratio that is too high results in beta
particle emission and nuclei having a neutrontoproton that is too low results in either
positron emission or electron capture.
5.
Use the concepts of nuclear binding energy, mass defect, and Einstein’s mass energy
equivalence relationship to calculate nuclear binding energy per nucleon.
6.
Describe a radioactive decay series using the terms parent and daughter.
7.
Use halflife and first order kinetics to find number of radioactive atoms or mass left after
a given length of time.
8.
Use first order kinetics and disintegrations per time to calculate halflife.
9.
Discuss carbon dating, data using uranium238 and potassium40 to estimate the age of
objects.
10. Balance nuclear equations involving transmutation.
11. Describe how a cyclotron functions and its use.
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View Full Document 12. Use the terms nuclear chain reaction and critical mass to describe a selfsustaining
nuclear reaction involving nuclear fission.
13. Sketch a diagram of a nuclear fission reactor used in power generation and discuss
advantages and disadvantages of light water reactors versus heavy water reactors.
14. Describe how moderators are used to control the reaction rate in nuclear power plants.
15. Explain what is meant by the term breeder reactor in nuclear power generators.
16. List three potential hazards of nuclear power generation.
17. Compare nuclear fission to nuclear fusion and use the term
thermonuclear reaction
in the
discussion.
18. Describe the state of matter known as plasma and discuss why the generation of plasma
results in engineering difficulties when attempting to use nuclear fusion for power
generation.
19. Cite examples of how radioactive isotopes are used in chemistry, biology, and medicine.
20. Use the term’s curie, rad, RBE, rem, and radicals to describe the biological effects of
radiation on living organisms.
Section 23.1
The Nature of Nuclear Reactions
The principal particles involved in nuclear reactions include
proton
1
1
H
neutron
1
0
n
electron (beta particle)
0
1
β

positron
0
1
+
alpha particle
4
2
α
In order to balance nuclear reactions, both conservation of mass number and atomic number
must be observed. It is important to point out that we are working with the conservation of mass
number and not conservation of mass. We will see later that mass is not conserved but is
converted to energy in nuclear reactions. For a nuclear equation to be balanced, the sum of the
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This note was uploaded on 02/08/2012 for the course CHEM 161 taught by Professor Shaklovich during the Spring '10 term at Harvard.
 Spring '10
 Shaklovich

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