Chapter study guide

Why can a relatively small power plant keep a submarine running for months or years at a time? The fuel at the heart of a nuclear power plant packs an immense amount of energy into a small mass. Nuclear physics is a description of the properties of the nucleus that can produce large amounts of energy through mass–energy equivalence. The strong nuclear force binds the nucleus together by overcoming the repulsion between the protons in the nucleus, thus providing the binding energy at the heart of nuclear power. Nuclear fission reactions provide the energy behind nuclear power, whereas nuclear fusion reactions power the core of the Sun. The weak nuclear force governs radioactive decay, which emits alpha, beta, or gamma radiation. Radioactive decay is at the heart of carbon-14 dating. The standard model brings together elementary particles and the forces that govern their interactions.


By the end of this chapter you should be able to
describe the three types of radioactive decay and solve nuclear reaction equations involving them;
solve radioactive half-life problems, including carbon-14 dating;
describe the strong and weak forces and evidence for their existence;
describe the historical development of the concepts of the strong and weak nuclear forces;
describe mass–energy equivalence, explain its role in nuclear reactions, and calculate the energy produced by nuclear reactions;
describe features in the design and operation of a nuclear power plant;
describe applications of nuclear physics, including radiation therapy and diagnostic imaging; and
summarize the standard model, including the four fundamental forces of nature.


27A: Controlling a nuclear fission reaction


794Strong nuclear force and the nucleus
795Properties of the strong nuclear force
796The atomic mass unit
797Mass–energy equivalence
798Binding energy
799Nuclear stability
800The periodic table and chart of nuclides
801Section 1 review
802Radioactivity
803Types of radioactive decay
804Weak nuclear force
805Half-life
806Carbon dating
807Section 2 review
808Nuclear reactions
809Types of nuclear reactions
810Nuclear fission
811Nuclear fusion and the Sun
812Section 3 review
813Applications of nuclear physics and beyond
814Nuclear power
81527A: Controlling a nuclear fission reaction
816Medical diagnostic imaging
817Radiation exposure and radiation therapy
818Particle physics and the standard model
819Four fundamental forces of nature
820Section 4 review
821Chapter review
E=m c 2
N= N 0 ( 1 2 ) t/ t ½
n 0 1 + N 7 14 Reactants C 6 14 + p 1 1 Products
 
strong nuclear forceatomic mass unit (amu)mass–energy equivalence
rest energybinding energymass deficiency
radioactive decayalpha decaybeta decay
gamma decayweak nuclear forcehalf-life
carbon datingnuclear reactionfission
chain reactionfusionnuclear energy
control rodsnuclear wastepositron
doseremGeiger counter
ionizationradiotherapy

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