Naked Science Forum

Non Life Sciences => Physics, Astronomy & Cosmology => Topic started by: petelamana on 12/02/2018 14:36:09

Title: What are the radioactive decay products of uranium?
Post by: petelamana on 12/02/2018 14:36:09
While watching the movie "Fat Man and Little Boy", a 1992 film about the Manhattan Project, I started thinking back to my basic undergrad courses.  I know that U decays, eventually, to Pb.  However, I seem to remember that an isotope of U occasionally decays "down" to Hg.  Am I correct?  Which isotope of U?  Why mercury and not lead?  What is the probability of uranium to mercury decay?
Title: Re: What are the radioactive decay products of uranium?
Post by: chiralSPO on 12/02/2018 14:47:51
According to this decay chain presented on wikipedia, a very small fraction of nuclei from the 238U decay chain become mercury nuclei, but this is only transient (half life of minutes), and ultimately lead is the only stable product.

https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/4/4e/Uranium_series.gif
Title: Re: What are the radioactive decay products of uranium?
Post by: Bored chemist on 13/02/2018 18:39:26
Mercury is just about possible as a fission product- though the yield would be very small.