Radioactivity

The assignment for this unit is in two parts. For part one, you are required to write an illustrated report that demonstrates your understanding of radioactivity. Part two requires you to carry out an experiment relating to radioactive decay and half-life.

part 1
You are required to write an illustrated report that includes the following:
• An explanation of the main types of radioactive decay and characteristic radiations, including three nuclear decay reaction equations for the three types of radiation.
• An explanation of the origins, penetration, energy deposition and measurement of different radiations.
• A decay series for Thorium. You must draw this and not take an image from the internet or a book. You can draw this by hand, photograph it with a smartphone and include the picture with an explanation in your report.
• Two calculations involving radiation dose.
• An explanation of selected uses and safe handling of sources in industry, medicine and scientific research.

Where you need to include equations and calculations you must use the examples provided within the relevant sections of the study materials for this unit.
Guidance
The report should be written using the recommended structure and format for an illustrated report as outlined in the unit 3 (Academic Writing Skills) study materials.

Conclusions and recommendations must stem from your findings.

Relevant theory must be referenced where appropriate and you must provide a references list and bibliography.

Your report should also contain appropriate drawings and diagrams to support your commentary. If these are taken from published sources they must be referenced accordingly.

The report should be a maximum of 1,250 words in length.

part 2
You are required to carry out the practical activity outlined in section 2.2 of the study materials for this unit. You must then write up the experiment using the following headings:

Aim – a clear, brief statement of the purpose of this experiment.

Equipment – a list of the equipment used.

Method – provide a step by step description of how the experiment was carried out.

Results – document the results and observations from the experiment, including the table that you filled in for each part of the experiment.
Using an appropriate spreadsheet package, you should generate and include two graphs within your results:
1. Plot a graph of (N) against t.
2. Plot a graph ln(N) against t.

Discussion – discuss your results and explain why they support relevant theory. Comment on improvements that you feel could be made to the experiment.

Conclusion – summarise how the results from the experiment support or contradict the expectations/prediction of the experiment.

Within your write-up, you should answer the following questions:
1. Why is it appropriate to simulate the radioactive decay process by throwing dice in the experiment?
2. From your graph, find the ‘half-life’ of the decay.
3. From the shape of the graph, what can you conclude about radioactive decay?
Guidance
Relevant theory must be referenced where appropriate and you must provide a references list and bibliography.

You must ensure that you have used the format provided and include the tables and graphs within the results section.

The write up of the experiment should be a maximum of 750 words in length.

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