   Chapter 19, Problem 19E

Chapter
Section
Textbook Problem

# One type of commercial smoke detector contains a minute amount of radioactive americium-241 (241Am), which decays by α-particle production. The α particles ionize molecules in the air, allowing it to conduct an electric current. When smoke particles enter, the conductivity of the air is changed and the alarm buzzes.a. Write the equation for the decay of A 95 241 m by α-particle production.b. The complete decay of 241Am involves successively α, α, β, α, α, β, α, α, α, β, α, and β production. What is the final stable nucleus produced in this decay series?c. Identify the 11 intermediate nuclides.

Interpretation Introduction

Interpretation: Equation for the decay of 95241Am by alpha particle production is to be stated. Final stable nucleus produced by the decay of 95241Am after successive alpha beta particle production is to be stated. The 11 intermediate nuclides produced are to be identified.

Concept introduction: Nuclei of radioactive element decompose in various ways. There are two major categories. One involves a change in mass number of the decaying nucleus while others do not. Types of radioactive processes include α particle production, β particle production, γ ray production, electron capture and many others. Electron capture decay involves the capturing of one of the inner orbitals electrons by the nucleus.

Beta particle production decay involves the production of beta particle (10e) that is assigned mass number zero.

A helium nucleus 24He is produced in the alpha decay process.

To determine: The equation for the decay of 95241Am by alpha particle production; final stable nuclide produced in the stated decay series and the 11 intermediate nuclides formed.

Explanation

The required decay equation is 95241Am93237Np+24He

The decay equation is 95241Am93237Np+24He

A helium nucleus 24He is produced in the alpha decay process. There is change of +4 in the mass number of the resultant nuclide. Thus, the stated decay process is an alpha particle production decay.

The final stable nuclide produced is 83209Bi .

In the decay series, there is production of 8 alpha particles and 4 beta particles. This results in the total decrease of 12 units in atomic number and 32 units in the mass number. Therefore, the final stable nuclide is 83209Bi .

The 11 intermediate nuclides are identified below

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