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2618 Nuclear Chemistry

  • Page ID
    440644
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    1.0 INTRODUCTION

    1.1 Objectives

    After this “dry” exercise, students will know how to measure radiation from nuclear decay, will recognize the presence of background radiation, will determine the half-life of a radioisotope, and will determine the degree of shielding lead provides against radiation.

    1.2 Background

    Nuclear reactions generate three main types of radiation: alpha, beta, and gamma. Alpha radiation consists of He+2 nuclei; beta radiation consists of electrons; and gamma radiation is energy. These different forms of radiation are detected with a Geiger counter.

    The experiment is performed by Linda Nuss and recorded in three you-tube videos. Further background information is provided in each video.

    PART A: BACKGROUND RADIATION

    Watch the following.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=RNVRfSPJAv0&t=169s

    2.0 Safety and Waste Disposal

    List three (3) safety precautions for doing nuclear chemistry (you may need to do an extra search outside of the video).



    3.0 Chemicals and Solutions Used

    What are the 4 sources of background radiation?

    4.0 Glassware and Apparatus

    What does a Geiger Counter actually count? (Hint: it isn’t the radiation.)

    6.0 Data Recording Sheet and 7.0 Calculations

    Collect the data from the video for the background radiation and determine the average.

    Minute

    Average Geiger Counter Count

    1

     

    2

     

    3

     

    4

     

    5

     

    6

     

    7

     

    8

     

    9

     

    10

     

    Average over 10 minutes

     




    PART B: DETERMINING THE HALF-LIFE OF A RADIOISOTOPE

    Watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=43BwBAaDt0k

    3.0 Chemicals and Solutions

    What is the decay process being studied?



    6.0 Data Recording Sheet

    Record the average count of the Geiger Counter over the time period, then calculate the average minus the average background from Part A

    Time (minutes)

    Average Count

    Average Count minus Background from Part A

    Ln of Average Count minus Background

    0

         

    1

         

    2

         

    3

         

    4

         

    5

         

    6

         

    7

         

    8

         

    7.0 Calculations

    1. Generate the graph of ln(average count – background) versus time as shown in the video and attach it or paste it here.

    2. Determine the slope of your graph, which is –k.

    3. Determine the half-life, which is 0.693/k.

    PART C: DETERMINING THE QUANTITY OF LEAD NECESSARY TO SHIELD AGAINST RADIATION

    Watch the video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Y6EGJpc-VQ

    6.0 Data Collection

    Number of Pb Sheets

    Thickness of Pb Sheets Total (mm)

    Geiger Counter Readings

    (Enter all 5)

    Average of the five readings

    Average Counter Reading minus Background from Part A

    Ln of Average minus Background

    1

     
         

    2

     
         

    3

     
         

    4

     
         

    5

     
         

    7.0 Calculations

    Plot ln(counter reading – background) versus mm of Pb and attach the graph or paste it here.


    How many mm of Pb are required to block all of the radiation from the Co-60?

    (Note that ln(0) is undefined. We can use ln(1) where the counter reading is just one more than the background count.)























    2618 Nuclear Chemistry is shared under a not declared license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by LibreTexts.

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