Radioactive Decay Particles

During every process of radioactive decay, particles and radiation disappear. Three kinds of particles are given off in rays by either the elements or atoms. With atoms that are heavier, like uranium, the particles they give off are a lot tinier than the actual atoms. Also, the nucleus in a heavy atom tends to deteriorate somewhat faster and easier than that of a regular atom.

A few of the particles can be quite hefty. These particular particles are called alpha particles. They are given off in steady jets, which are called alpha rays. Two protons and two neutrons, each one looking exactly like the nucleus that a helium atom has, are in every alpha particle.

Another kind of particle is really lightweight. Beta particles are the name of these, and they are given off in beta rays. Beta particles are electrons that are released when a neutron changes over to a proton.

Lastly, there are the gamma rays that make up radiations. These are a type of electromagnetic radiation and are made up of really small waves, like X-rays. Gamma rays are photons, which is a basic component of energy released when an electrified electron leaps to a range of lesser energy.

Beta, alpha, or gamma rays are radiated through uranium’s nuclei and thorium atoms. As a matter of fact, atoms in general have changed. They are not atoms of thorium or uranium anymore, but atoms of more elements. The other elements are radioactive too and also deteriorate more. After a lot of changes, the atoms turn into those of the element lead, which is not radioactive. There is no radiation, and no further changes.


Thinkfilm Inc., 2005. Video Segment.
13 February 2011. <>.

Thomson, Norm. "Radioactive Elements." The New Book of Knowledge. Grolier Online, 2011. Web. 31 Jan. 2011.