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Author Topic: How does Beta decay result in a neutral atom?  (Read 3309 times)

Offline pup

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How does Beta decay result in a neutral atom?
« on: 12/02/2011 07:03:17 »
In beta negative decay, a neutron is converted into a proton and an electron. The nuclear charge increases by 1 (due to increase in protons), while the electron (beta particle) is removed. The number of orbiting electrons remains the same. How is the resulting atom neutral? ???



Mod edit - formatted the subject as a question - please do this to help keep the forum tidy and easy to navigate.  Thanks.
« Last Edit: 17/02/2011 09:49:42 by BenV »


 

Offline Bored chemist

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Re: How does Beta decay result in a neutral atom?
« Reply #1 on: 12/02/2011 16:57:10 »
The atom formed is, initially, ionised. In effect, it picks up the electron again later after the electron has bumped into other atoms and slowed down.
 

Offline bardman

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Re: How does Beta decay result in a neutral atom?
« Reply #2 on: 16/02/2011 21:33:37 »
Are you saying that the electron is ejected, due to energetics of the electron, thus leaving an ionized atom? If that is the case, Bored chemist is right in saying the atom is ionized and then becomes neutral after subsequent electrostatic reactions where it picks up another electron.

The reaction itself is charge neutral, being that a neutral neutron turns into a proton and electron having equal and opposite charges.

A more in depth explanation of β- decay is that heavier elements sometimes have too many neutrons and are unstable. It is more favorable to raise the atomic number where more neutrons can be supported, thus the neutron interacts via the weak interaction to produce a proton, electron, and antinuetrino. More specifically, the nuetron decays into a proton and a W- boson, which then decays in a very short lifetime into the electron and antinuetrino.
 

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Re: How does Beta decay result in a neutral atom?
« Reply #2 on: 16/02/2011 21:33:37 »

 

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