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# Physics Project (( Radioactive decay )) Essay Example

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## Physics Project (( Radioactive decay ))

Spontaneous process hence it is not possible to predict when a given nucleus will decay, i.; any radioactive nucleus may decay at any given moment (Krane, 1988, Pg. For each given time, there is a probability that the nucleus will decay. This probability per second is referred to as the decay constant, λ, and it represents the number of the nucleus of a given element that will probably decay in one second. The number of nucleus decaying at per unit time is always proportional to the amount of radioactive nucleus present at that instant and is given by (Krane 2006, Pg.Where the original amount of nucleus present and N is the amount present after time t. Another way to present decay is by using the number of half-lives. The half-life of a radioactive element is the time it will take for the initial amount of that particular element or species to reduce to half (Cook 2010, Pg. Mathematically, half-life can be found by dividing the natural log of two by the decay constant as given below.Determination of a half-life can be done through flipping of coins since they are all probability processes. Apart from the time factor that is not present in flipping of coins, the process is random and are affected by external factors such as temperature and climate change.In lab1 experiment, we started with 100 pennies. We placed all pennies in a flat box such all the pennies were tailed up. We covered the box with its cover and shake thoroughly. The pennies with heads up represented the decayed atoms in one half-life. We removed and counted all the pennies that were now heads up and recorded this in the table 1. We also recorded the number of the pennies remaining in the box. We repeated the process until all the pennies were removed from the box.In lab2 experiment, we started with eight pennies. On the first throw, we counted and removed those with heads up as they represented the decayed nuclei. These values were recorded in the table 2. We continued throwing the pennies until one or no pennies were left. We also recorded in the table the number of throws that were required to one or zero penny left. We repeated this procedure fifty times.In the first experiment, approximately half the pennies decayed each time hence our hypothesis was correct since the percentage difference from our prediction was 1%. The shape of the coins left curve is an exponential decay curve. In the beginning, the curve is very steep meaning more coins are undergoing decay process

References

Martin, B. R. (2006). Nuclear and Particle Physics. New York: John Wiley & Sons, Ltd.

Cook, N. D. (2010). Models of the Atomic Nucleus, 2 Ed. California: Springer.

Krane, K. S. (1988). Introductory Nuclear Physics. New York: Pub. Wiley

Appendix

Table 1. Lab1 result

No of trials

Coins decayed

Accumulated of coins decayed

Coins lift 100

0

0

0

100

1

52

52

48

2

22

74

26

3

17

91

9

4

3

94

6

5

2

96

4

6

2

98

2

7

1

99

1

8

0

99

1

9

1

100

0

Table 2. Lab2 results

Trial

Number of decayed 1st time

Number of throws to get 1 or 0

1

2

3

2

5

3

3

4

2

4

5

2

5

4

4

6

3

3

7

4

2

8

4

3

9

3

3

10

2

3

11

5

3

12

6

2

13

5

3

14

1

4

15

6

3

16

4

2

17

4

2

18

6

3

19

6

3

20

4

4

21

5

4

22

4

2

23

7

1

24

3

4

25

5

3

26

5

3

27

2

3

28

4

4

29

3

2

30

4

3

31

4

2

32

3

3

33

3

3

34

2

2

35

6

3

36

5

3

37

3

4

38

4

4

39

4

2

40

4

3

41

1

3

42

3

4

43

4

2

44

7

1

45

2

3

46

7

1

47

5

2

48

6

2

49

4

4

50

2

5

Total

204

142

Table 3. The number of coins that decays on the first throw and their number of outcomes (frequency)

First throw

frequency

1

2

2

6

3

8

4

16

5

9

6

6

7

3

8

0

Total

50

Table 4. The number of throw to get to 0 or 1 coin and the number of their outcome

get 1 or 2

frequency

1

3

2

14

3

22

4

10

5

1

6

0

Total

50

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