Recommended for High School.
Nuclear radiation can be broadly classified into three types. These three types are labeled with the first three letters of the Greek alphabet: α (alpha), β (beta) and γ (gamma). Alpha radiation consists of a stream of fast-moving helium nuclei (two protons and two neutrons). As such, an alpha particle is relatively heavy and carries two positive electrical charges. Beta radiation consists of fast-moving electrons or positrons (an antimatter electron).
A beta particle is much lighter than an alpha, and carries one unit of charge. Gamma radiation consists of photons, which are massless and carry no charge. X-rays are also photons, but carry less energy than gammas.
In this experiment, you will
- Develop a model for the relative absorption of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation by matter.
- Use a radiation counter to measure the absorption of alpha, beta, and gamma radiation by air, paper, and aluminum.
- Analyze the count rate data to test for consistency with your model.
Sensors and Equipment
This experiment features the following Vernier sensors and equipment.
You may also need an interface and software for data collection. What do I need for data collection?
See all standards correlations for Nuclear Radiation with Vernier »