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Conservation of angular momentum in nuclear physics 
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#1
Mar1814, 06:00 PM

P: 4

Say a uranium238 nucleus with angular momentum I_{I} decays to thorium234 plus an alpha particle. Will the sum of the angular momenta of the thorium234 nucleus and the alpha particle equal I_{I}? What if a photon was emitted during this process, would I_{thorium}+I_{α}+hbar=I_{I}?
thanks 


#2
Mar1814, 06:24 PM

Mentor
P: 11,928

The relative motion of the nuclei can carry angular momentum, so the result can be different.



#3
Mar1914, 10:33 AM

Thanks
P: 1,948

To clarify mfb's point, orbital angular momentum must be included when applying angular momentum conservation. But yes, angular momentum is definitely always conserved.



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