Radioactivity

Ionising Ability.

What is Ionising Ability?

Ionising ability is the ease with which radioactivity forms ions.
Radioactivity is called "ionising radiation".


How does Radioactivity form Ions?

When alpha particles, beta particles or gamma rays collide
with a material they can knock an electron off an atom and form
an ion. An ion is any atom that has lost or gained electrons.
An ion always has a charge. An ion has a positive charge if it has
lost electrons and a negative charge if it has gained electrons.
Click here for further information on atoms, electrons and ions.

The ability of radioactivity to form ions depends on its mass.
Ionising ability is related to penetrating ability. Alpha particles
are the most ionising because they have the most mass.
Gamma rays are the least ionising because they have no mass.


What are the Uses of Ionising Radiation?

1. Radioactivity can be detected because it forms ions.

2. A smoke detector works because
ions are formed in the air around a radioactive source.

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