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Topic: Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.  (Read 10668 times)

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Offline tel

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Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.
« on: June 21, 2006, 04:10:50 PM »
I've asked this question of just about everyone around me knowledgable enough to know, but I've never gotten a straight answer: exactly what kinds of radiation make other things radioactive? What exactly is meant by "nuclear contamination" when talking about fission explosions? For that matter, I know that fusion reactions are said to be "clean", but does the detonation of a fusion bomb really not leave any radioative particles in its wake?

Offline wereworm73

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Re: Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.
« Reply #1 on: June 21, 2006, 06:32:15 PM »
Gamma rays can cause atomic nuclei to temporarily deform and become radioactive.  Bombarding stable atoms with neutrons can make them radioactive (generally, an atom with too many neutrons in its nucleus will emit beta-radiation).  Living issue, like just about anything else, can become more radioactive if it simply absorbs radioactive atoms.

When uranium (or plutonium) is broken into smaller atoms by nuclear fission, these smaller atoms are often highly radioactive and some of them (like strontium-90) are too easily absorbed by the body, causing cancer and destroying tissue.  So, when you have a fission explosion scattering all those nasty radioactive atoms like Sr-90 around, the area is going to have nuclear contamination.

The fusion reaction itself can be clean, if the fusion product is a stable, non-radioactive isotope (like helium-4).  However, standard nuclear fusion requires extremely high temperatures and that is supplied by nuclear fission, which is dirty.  Also, if the fusion reaction leads to the formation of unstable isotopes, then this reaction is also dirty.  In fact, after the first H-bomb was tested at Eniwetok in 1952, some highly radioactive einsteinium & fermium was found in the coral reef (those elements don't exist naturally on Earth, but fusion reactions with uranium in the H-bomb created them).

Offline vmelkon

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Re: Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.
« Reply #2 on: September 27, 2010, 03:20:54 AM »
Gamma rays can cause atomic nuclei to temporarily deform and become radioactive.

You mean when certain nuclei get hit by a gamma ray, they can absorb it and become metstable. Much later, then can emit a gamma ray?

Also, for fusion reactions, even if a stable nuclei is formed, you get some difficult to stop radiation such as
deuterium + tritium = helium 4 + neutron

which is one reason people want helium 3 and lots of it :
deuterium + helium 3 = helium 4 + proton
and the proton can be stopped easily.

Offline crnobijeli13

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Re: Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2010, 04:31:05 AM »
I've asked this question of just about everyone around me knowledgable enough to know, but I've never gotten a straight answer: exactly what kinds of radiation make other things radioactive? What exactly is meant by "nuclear contamination" when talking about fission explosions? For that matter, I know that fusion reactions are said to be "clean", but does the detonation of a fusion bomb really not leave any radioative particles in its wake?

i think fusion reactions are not exactly clean, we just don't know enough about them. When 4 protons from Hidrogen hit each other, some sub atomic particles might escape (positrons for an example). Scientists know stars are a source of those particles, and type of nuclear reaction in them is fusion. There is also cosmic radiation that is not clean and it also comes from nuclear fusion.

Offline vmelkon

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Re: Death, Dying, Necrosis, etc.
« Reply #4 on: October 26, 2010, 12:15:39 PM »
I've asked this question of just about everyone around me knowledgable enough to know, but I've never gotten a straight answer: exactly what kinds of radiation make other things radioactive? What exactly is meant by "nuclear contamination" when talking about fission explosions? For that matter, I know that fusion reactions are said to be "clean", but does the detonation of a fusion bomb really not leave any radioative particles in its wake?

i think fusion reactions are not exactly clean, we just don't know enough about them. When 4 protons from Hidrogen hit each other, some sub atomic particles might escape (positrons for an example). Scientists know stars are a source of those particles, and type of nuclear reaction in them is fusion. There is also cosmic radiation that is not clean and it also comes from nuclear fusion.

For cosmic radiation,
N14 + n -> C14 + p
and C14 is produced constantly on Earth.

Perhaps this one is possible as well
C13 + n -> C14

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