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Nuclear physics
The branch of physics that deals with the study of the structure and
properties of atomic nuclei is called Nuclear physics.
Q.1 Write a note on the atomic structure.
(Ans) Atomic structure
An atom consists of two parts, the central massive part and the outer
lighter part (orbits). The central massive part consists of protons and
neutrons. Proton is positively charged whereas neutron is neutral.
Therefore, a nucleus carries positive charge.
The outer lighter part consists of circular orbits in which electrons
revolving around the nucleus. An electron carries negative charge equal to
proton (1.6 x 10-19C).
The number of protons and electrons are equal in an atom; as a result, an
atom is neutral.
Mass of electron = Me = 9.11 x 10-31Kg
Mass of proton = Mp = 1.67 x 10-27Kg
Mass of neutron = Mn = 1.67 x 10-27Kg

Charge number
The number of protons or electrons present in an atom is called charge
number. It is denoted by Z. For examples
Charge number of Carbon = 06
Charge number of Sodium = 11
Charge number of Chlorine = 17
Mass number
The sum of number of protons and neutrons present in the nucleus of an
atom is called mass number. It is denoted by A. Mathematically
Where N is the number of neutrons and Z is the number of protons. For
Mass number of Carbon = 12
Mass number of Sodium = 23

Mass number of Uranium = 235

Atomic mass
The sum of masses of protons and neutrons of an atom is called atomic
mass. For examples
The atomic mass of Hydrogen = 1.0008
The atomic mass of Chlorine = 35.5
The atomic mass of Oxygen = 16
Q.2 What is meant by Radioactivity?
(Ans) Radioactivity
The phenomena in which some elements emit different types of radiations
spontaneously are called Radioactivity.
Radioactivity was first studied by a French scientist Henry Bequeral in
1896. He studied that for a substance that has a charge number greater
than 82 emit radiation spontaneously from itself naturally. The element
that emits radiation is called radioactive element.
Bequeral took a sample of radioactive element and placed in a lead box
having a narrow opening. A strong magnetic field was provided around the
opening of the lead box. A photographic plate was placed above the
magnetic field. The apparatus is closed in a glass chamber as shown.

It can be observed from the photographic plate that that radiated rays are
split into three types. Some of the rays bend towards the right of the
positive field are known as Beta rays. Some are bend towards the

negative field called Alpha rays. The third type of rays move straight
without deflection, these rays are called Gamma rays.
Q.3 Discuss the properties of Alpha, Beta and Gamma rays.
(Ans) Properties of Alpha rays
(1) Alpha rays have a charge double to a proton and are called helium nuclei.
The mass of alpha particle are also equal to helium atom. It is denoted by
(2) Alpha rays ionize the gas through which they pass.
(3) Alpha rays produce fluorescence in zinc sulphide.
(4) The penetrating power of alpha rays is very small.
(5) They are affected by the electric and magnetic field.
(6) The speed of alpha particles ranges between 1.4 x 107 to 1.8 x 107ms-1.
Properties of Beta rays
(1) Beta particle carries negative charge and is consider fast moving electrons.
It is denoted by .
(2) Their ionization capability is small.
(3) They produce fluorescence in Barium platinocynide.
(4) They are affected by the electric and magnetic field.
(5) Their penetrating power is greater than alpha particles.
(6) The speed of Beta particles ranges between 2.7 x 107 to 9.0 x 107ms-1.
Properties of Gamma rays
(1) These rays are not affected by the magnetic and electric field. It means
that these rays are neutral. It is denoted by .
(2) Their penetrating power is very high.
(3) These rays produce feeble fluorescence in Barium platinocynide.
(4) Their ionization capability is very small.
(5) They move with the speed of light.
Q.4 What is meant by half life of a radioactive element?
(Ans) Half-life of radioactive element
The time interval in which half of the atoms in any given sample of a
radioactive element decay into daughter element is known as the half-life
of the parent element.
It is clear from radioactivity that during radiation different rays are emitted
from the nucleus of the atom. As a result, the element transforms into
another element known as daughter element. For example
When an element emit alpha particle, it can be stated as:
A 4

Z 2

Similarly, when an element emits Beta particle, then we can state it as:

X A Z 1 Y A

Half-life of different elements is different. For examples

Half-life of Radon = 3.82 days

Half-life of Radium = 1600 years

Half-life of Krypton is = 3.16 minutes
Half life of Lead-210 = 22.3 years
Q.5 What are radioisotopes? Discuss its uses.
(Ans) Isotopes
Atoms of the same element having same atomic number but different
mass number are called isotopes. For example
Hydrogen has three isotopes.
i. protium (1H1)
ii. Deutrium
iii. Tritium (1H3)
Those isotopes that are unstable in nature and emit radiations are called
radioisotopes. For examples
, 11Na24, 6C14, 27Co62 and 15P31 etc.
Uses of Radioisotopes
The advantage of using radioisotopes is that its location can be easily
identified by the radiation it emits. Therefore, radioisotopes are used in
agriculture, industry, geological dating and archaeological dating.
Various types of new seeds are introduced by radiation that is called
mutation. Different types of radiations are used to kill bacteria and
preserve the fruits, vegetables and other foodstuff.
Radioisotopes are also used to determine the suitable amount of fertilizers
and other intakes needed by plants.
In industries, the wear and tear of different tools is found by using
radioisotopes. Cobalt-60 is used to detect the cracks in some welded
joints. Radioisotopes are also used to find the leakage in the pipes by
introducing some small amount of radioisotope in the fluid. A detector is
move over the pipe which detect the leakage by receiving of radiation.
Geological dating
Uranium-238 is used for dating rocks and can be used to determine the
age of a rock.
Archaeological dating
Significant progress has been made in this field of study since the
discovery of radioactivity and its properties. One application is Carbon-14
is used to know that when an organism died.

Q.6 State Einstein mass-energy equation.

(Ans) Einstein mass-energy equation
Einstein in 1905 state that mass and energy are interconvertable into
each other. It means that mass can be converted into energy and energy
into mass. Mathematically

E mc 2
Where m is the mass of the body E is the energy and C is the speed
of light. The value of speed of light is 3 x 108ms-1.
Q.7 Discuss in detail what is nuclear fission reaction.
(Ans) Nuclear fission reaction
A special type of nuclear reaction in which a heavy nucleus split into two
nuclei by the bombardment of a slow neutron is called nuclear fission
Two German scientists Otto Hahn and Fritz Strassman in 1938 conducted
the first fission reaction. They bombarded the nucleus of uranium by a
slow neutron expecting that to form a heavier isotope of uranium. They
observed that the heavy nucleus itself split into lighter nuclei with huge
amount of energy.

n1 92 U 235 56 Ba141 36 K 92 3n1 E

It is found that the mass of the product is less than the mass of the
reactants in the above reaction. It means that some of the mass is
converted into energy by Einstein mass-energy relation.

Q.8 What is fission chain reaction?

(Ans) Fission chain reaction
When uranium is bombarded with a slow neutron two nuclei barium and
krypton is formed. Three neutrons are released during the reaction, these
neutrons react with next nuclei of uranium producing heat energy and
more neutrons. In this way the number of neutrons and the fission reaction
goes on increasing such a reaction is called fission chain reaction.

Q.9 Discuss in detail what is nuclear fusion reaction.

(Ans) Nuclear fusion
A special type of nuclear reaction in which two lighter having charge
number less than 30 combine to form a heavy nucleus is called nuclear
fusion reaction. For example
When Deuterium and Tritium are brought closer to each other, they form
helium nuclei and released a lot of heat energy.

H 2 1 H 3 2 He4 0 n1 E

the sum of the masses of combine nuclei is more than the sum of the
product nuclei. This deficit in masses is converted into energy. The heat
energy released in fusion reaction is far more than the energy released in
fission reaction. The difficulty is that to bring two positively charged nuclei
closer to each other required energy. This reaction required a temperature
of 1 million degree Celsius to get the required kinetic energy.
Radiation hazards
Radiation is useful in many ways for mankind. However, Radiation also
causes different diseases in living organism. For examples
Anemia (a disease in red blood corpuscle)
Leukemia or blood cancer
Malignant tumor
Cataracts (opacity of lens of the eyes)


What type of charge is present on (a) -particle (b) -particle (c) particle?
See Q.3


What are the source of energy from sun and stars?

AS we know that the temperature of the sun and stars are very high.
Therefore fusion reaction take place on the surface of the sun and stars.
Fusion reaction is the cheaper source of energy from sun and stars.


An element X having atomic number 92 and mass number 238 emits

an alpha particle to form another element Y. What will be the atomic
number and mass number of element Y?
When an atom emit alpha particle, then the following changes occur in
atomic number and mass number.


X A Z 2 Y A 4

235 4

92 2

X 235 90 Y 231


Which one of the following nuclei will be more stable and why?
(a) 92U235
(b) 16S32


The stability of an atom depends upon the number of neutrons present in

it. Smaller the number of neutrons greater will be the stability and vice
versa. As the number of neutron present in 16S32 is smaller than the
number of neutrons present in 92U235. Therefore 16S32 is more stable than


Complete the following reaction.



U 235 0 n1 56 Ba141 K 30 n1 Q

When uranium nucleus is bombarded with a slow neutron it split into

two smaller nuclei barium and krypton releasing a large amount of
heat energy.

U 235 0 n1 56 Ba141 36 K 92 30 n1 Q


Half-life of uranium is 4.47 x 1010 years. In how much time only 5g will
be left out of 20g.
Half-life of Uranium = 4.47 x 1010 years
Amount of Uranium = 20g
10 g
Amount left after first Half-life =
Amount left after 2nd Half-life =
No of Half-life passed = 2
Total time passed = No of Half-life x Half-life
Total time passed = 2(4.47 x 1010) = 8.94 x 1010 years


Find the mass of the body from which 1.8 x 1015 J of energy is
Given data
E = 1.8 x 1015 J
C = 3 x 108 ms-1
We know that

E mc 2
E 1 8 1015
m 2
(3 108 ) 2
1 8 1015
0 2 101516
9 10
m 0 2 10 1 0 02Kg 20gm

The Half-life of radium is 1600 years. How much of 120g of radium

will be left after 4800 years?
Given data
Half-life of radium = 1600 years
Total time passed = 4800 years
Amount left =?
No of Half-life =
60 g
Amount left after first Half-life =

30 g
Amount left after 3rd Half-life =

Amount left after 2nd Half-life =


Find the energy produce from 400Kg of uranium if it is completely

changed into energy.
Given data

m 400Kg

c 3 108 m / s
E ?
We know that

E mc 2
E 400 (3 108 ) 2
E 400 9 1016
E 3600 1016 J
E 3 6 1019 J