Properties of Alpha, Beta Particles and Gama Rays

All the three types of radioactive radiations exhibit some common properties viz. they affect photographic plates, they cause fluorescence in certain

What are the properties of Alpha, Beta and Gama-particles?

All the three types of radioactive radiations exhibit some common properties viz. they affect photographic plates, they cause fluorescence in certain materials, ionize the medium through which they pass and they can penetrate through thin foils or sheets. However, each type of radioactive radiation has some characteristic properties of its own.

Properties of radioactive radiation | M-Physics Tutorial

Properties of Alpha Particle

  1. The alpha particles are helium nuclei with 2 units of positive charge and mass of 4 amu.
  2. Because they are charged particles so they can be deflected by electric and magnetic fields.
  3. They ionize the medium through which they pass. The ionizing power of Alpha-particles is much high, which is about 100 times that of Beta-particles and 10000 times that of Gamma-rays.
  4. Alpha particles are scattered while passing through very thin metal foils.
  5. The penetrating power of Alpha-particles is very small as compared to that of Beta-particles and Gamma-rays.
  6. Long exposers to alpha-emitters produce harmful effects on the human body.

Properties of Beta-particles

  1. Beta-particles are negatively charged particles whose rest mass and electric charges are exactly same as that of electrons. So, the rest mass of a Beta-particle is 9.1×10-31 kg and its negative charge is e = 1.6×10-19 C.
  2. The penetrating power of Beta-particles is comparatively large. Their penetrating power is about 100 times that of Alpha-particles but about 1% of that of Gamma-rays.
  3. Beta-particles ionize the medium through which they pass. However, their ionizing power is very small as compared to that of Alpha-particles.
  4. Beta particles may be dangerous and any contact with the body should be avoided.
  5. Because they are charged particles so they can be deflected by electric and magnetic fields.

Properties of Gamma-rays

  1. Gamma-rays are electromagnetic waves of extremely short wavelengths. So, these are not deflected either in an electric field or in a magnetic field.
  2. Gamma-rays travel with the speed of light.
  3. Gamma-rays carry a large amount of energy.
  4. Penetrating power of Gamma-rays are extremely large. The penetrating power of Gamma-rays is about 100 times that of Beta-particles and 10000 times of Alpha-particles.
  5. Gamma-rays too ionize the medium through which they pass. However, their ionizing power is about 1% that of Beta-particles and only about 0.01% as compared to that of Alpha-particles.

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