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2003 Section C No.4 [20 marks]

1 As a researcher, you are assigned to investigate the characteristics of a certain

radioactive isotope that could be used to detect the thickness of paper in a paper factory.

(a) What does the term isotope mean? [ 1 mark]

(b) The table below shows the characteristics of five isotopes.

Based on the table above;

(i) Explain the suitable characteristics of the isotopes so that it can be

used to measure the thickness of paper in a paper industry.

(ii) Select the most suitable isotope to be used in detecting the

thickness of paper in the factory and give your reasons.
[ 10 marks]

(c) Suggest briefly the arrangement of the paper thickness detector apparatus and
state how radioactivity is used to detect the thickness of the paper.

[ 3 marks]

(d) Sketch a graph of activity against time to illustrate how radioactive materials
decay. Use your graph to explain how the half-life is determined. [ 4 marks]

(e) The half-life of cobalt-60 is 5 years.

Calculate the time taken for the activity of this isotope to decay to 12.5% of its
initial value.
[ 2 marks]

2006 SECTION C No.12 [20 marks]

2 Radioactive material has some uses in the medical field such as in the investigation
of internal organs and in the sterilization of equipments.

(a) A doctor conducts an investigation on a patients kidney by injecting iodine-

131 radioisotope, that has a half-life of 8 days, into the blood circulation.

A normal kidney can expel radioisotope in 20 minutes.

The presence of radioisotope in the left and right kidneys is shown in the
graphs as in Diagram 12.1.


Left Kidney DIAGRAM 12.1 Right Kidney

(i) What is meant by half-life? [1 mark]

(ii) Based on the graphs in Diagram 12.1, which kidney is not functioning

Give one reason. [2 marks]

(iii) The initial iodine-131 activity is 1600 counts per second.

Calculate the time taken for the iodine-131 activity to decrease to 100 counts
per second.
[2 marks]

(b) Medical equipment is sterilized by radiation from a radioactive source.

You are assigned to study the characteristics of some radioisotopes that are suitable
for use in sterilization of medical equipments.

Table 12 shows the characteristics of five radioisotopes.

Characteristics of isotope

State of matter Type of ray Half-life

Strontium-90 Solid Beta 28 years

Cobalt-60 Solid Gamma 5 years

Xenon-133 Gas Beta 5 days

Iodine-131 Liquid Gamma 8 days

Polonium-210 Solid Alpha 140 days


(i) Explain the suitability of the characteristics of the radioisotope to be used in the
sterilization of medical equipment [6 marks]

(ii) Determine the most suitable radioisotope to be used and give one reason for
your choice. [2 marks]

(c) Gamma rays can produce an effect on photographic film.

Explain whether gamma rays is suitable to be used in taking photographs of an
organ in humans. [2 marks]

(d) Beryllium-11 isotope emits two rays. The isotope is placed in front of a magnetic field
and the radioactive radiation path is shown in Diagram 12.2.



(i) Name both rays that are emitted by the isotope. [2 marks]

(ii) Explain why the rays follow the path shown in Diagram 12.2. [2 marks]