Homework Help: Alpha particle

1. Jul 21, 2009

jackxxny

1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

I got ask the following question, and i don't know the answer.

Why in a rdioactive decay of 232Th by alpha emission, the alpha particle can have energy 4.01 Mev and 3.95 Mev?

2. Relevant equations

3. The attempt at a solution

I look up this website and i found it.

http://atom.kaeri.re.kr/cgi-bin/decay?Th-232 A

But i dont understand why.

Is beacause of the probility?

2. Jul 21, 2009

FunkyDwarf

Yes, there are different possible decay products with different probability weightings.

3. Jul 21, 2009

jackxxny

the part that i don't get is how Th232 -->decay--> Ra228

why does the alpha particle can have 2 different energies??

4. Jul 21, 2009

Dick

Judging from your picture it looks like Th will decay in the majority of cases to two different excited states of Ra (which can subsequently emit a gamma to get to the ground state of Ra). If it decays to the higher energy state of Ra then there is less energy left for the alpha.

5. Jul 22, 2009

JakePearson

well if Th232 decays by alpha emission it loses a He atom
thus Th232 = Ra228 + He4
hope this helps