Popular lifehacks

# What do pennies represent in radioactive decay?

## What do pennies represent in radioactive decay?

The nickels represent the mother nuclei; the pennies, the daughter nuclei. Repeat the experiment until all the coins are gone, if a toss results in no “tails” then leave the column empty.” Notice that the columns of decayed pennies grow at first and then decay.

Why are the remaining number of pennies reduced by about half each time they are shaken and tossed?

Why does each trial reduce the number heads by approximately one-half? Each trial reduces the number of heads by ½ because there are two sides of the coin so the probability of someone flipping it to where it lands on heads is 50/50. The number of heads flipped represents the isotope that decays.

### Why is a penny useful for representing a radioactive isotope?

The pennies will help you discover the relationship between the passage of time and the number of radioactive nuclei that decay. The product of the isotope’s decay is a tails-up penny – the isotope tailsium.

What happened to the number of coins remaining after each trial?

You will lose about half the coins each time, and it will probably take you about 6 turns until there are no coins left when you start out with 100 (remember that flipping a coin is a random process—so your results will not be exactly the same each time).

#### What does the shaking of the pennies represent?

Each shake represents 5730 years that have passed. Subtract the number of pennies removed from the total number of pennies to find the number of pennies remaining.

What do the heads up pennies represent?

Suppose all the pennies are atoms of an element called coinium. Further, a heads- up represents an atom of the radioactive isotope-let’s call it headsium-of coinium. The product of this isotope’s decay is a tails-up penny-the isotope tailsium. the container will represent one half-life period.

## What is the half-life for the pennies?

100 years
Pennies heads up represent the parent isotope atoms and pennies tails up represent the daughter isotope atoms. If using candy; the blank side is the parent and the lettered side is the daughter. For this experiment your isotope’s (penny’s) half-life equals 100 years.

How accurate is talking about half lives?

Since radioactive decay is a spontaneous event, you may think that the half-life of the decay process is completely fixed and cannot be altered by outside influences. However, this statement is not completely true.

### Why is half-life not exact?

The half-life of a certain type of atom does not describe the exact amount of time that every single atom experiences before decaying. Rather, the half-life describes the average amount of time it takes for a large group of amounts to reach the point where half of the atoms have decayed.

Is half-life exact?

Although scientists have defined half-lives for different elements, the exact rate is completely random. Half-lives of elements vary tremendously. For example, carbon takes millions of years to decay; that’s why it is stable enough to be a component of the bodies of living organisms.

#### Can a radioactive material ever lose its activity?

Yes, the decay half-life of a radioactive material can be changed. Radioactive decay happens when an unstable atomic nucleus spontaneously changes to a lower-energy state and spits out a bit of radiation. This process changes the atom to a different element or a different isotope.