What is the reason for unstable nuclear decay?

What is the reason for unstable nuclear decay?

Every atom seeks to be as stable as possible. In the case of radioactive decay, instability occurs when there is an imbalance in the number of protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus. Basically, there is too much energy inside the nucleus to hold all the nucleons together.

What happens when unstable elements undergo radioactive decay?

Radioactive decay is the process in which unstable nuclei of radioactive atoms become stable by emitting charged particles and energy. Alpha and beta decay change one element into another. Gamma decay does not. Radioactive decay can damage living things.

What happens to unstable isotopes in nature?

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When an unstable isotope decays, it makes a new atom of a different element. Stable, isotopes, on the other hand, do not decay.

Do unstable atoms decay through a naturally occurring process?

Radioactive decay (also known as nuclear decay, radioactivity, radioactive disintegration or nuclear disintegration) is the process by which an unstable atomic nucleus loses energy by radiation.

Why are some elements unstable?

Why some elements are radioactive (unstable). When the atoms of an element have extra neutrons or protons it creates extra energy in the nucleus and causes the atom to become unbalanced or unstable.

What are the causes of nuclear instability?

Instability of an atom’s nucleus may result from an excess of either neutrons or protons. A radioactive atom will attempt to reach stability by ejecting nucleons (protons or neutrons), as well as other particles, or by releasing energy in other forms.

How does an unstable atom become stable?

Radiation is emitted from atoms when an unstable atom decays to become more stable. When an atom has extra neutrons or protons, it causes the element to become unstable. This activity helps students understand how emitting an alpha or beta particle changes the structure of an atom.

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How do unstable isotopes become stable?

Most isotopes become stable by emitting alpha particles, beta particles, positrons, or gamma rays. A few become stable by electron capture or by spontaneous fission. GAMMA RAYS: Thus, thorium-234 becomes more stable by releasing gamma rays and a beta particle.

What makes an element stable or unstable?

An atom is stable if the forces among the particles that makeup the nucleus are balanced. An atom is unstable (radioactive) if these forces are unbalanced; if the nucleus has an excess of internal energy. Instability of an atom’s nucleus may result from an excess of either neutrons or protons.

Why are heavy elements unstable?

Originally Answered: Why do larger atoms become unstable? Because they have excess nuclear energy. This is due to disproportion in number of neutrons and protons, and the nucleus tends to establish balance in the number of these particles, and to fall to lower energy state.

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Why are unstable atoms called radioactive?

These atoms are said to be ‘unstable’ or ‘radioactive’. An unstable atom has excess internal energy, with the result that the nucleus can undergo a spontaneous change towards a more stable form. This is called ‘radioactive decay’.