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Are the number of electrons on both sides of the radioactive decay balanced?

  1. Sep 20, 2015 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    Are the number of electrons on both sides of the radioactive decay balanced?
    2. Relevant equations
    For example, consider an alpha decay.
    ZPAZ-2DA-4 + 2He4
    For P,
    Number of Neutrons = A - Z
    Number of Protons = Z
    Number of Electrons = Z
    For D,
    Number of Neutrons = [A - 4] - [Z - 2] = A - 4 - Z + 2 = A - Z - 2
    Number of Protons = Z - 2
    Number of Electrons = Z - 2
    For He (nucleus),
    Number of Neutrons = 2
    Number of Protons = 2
    Number of Electrons = 0

    3. The attempt at a solution
    Now, the number of neutrons
    on left side = A - Z
    on right side = [A - Z - 2] + 2 = A - Z

    the number of protons
    on left side = Z
    on right side = [Z - 2] + 2= Z

    the number of electrons
    on left side = Z
    on right side = [Z - 2] + 0 = Z - 2

    It can be clearly seen that the number of electrons on both sides of an alpha decay are not balanced.
    So what happened to those missing electrons?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 20, 2015 #2

    SteamKing

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    Why do you say that the number of electrons is not balanced before and after the emission of the alpha particle?
     
  4. Sep 20, 2015 #3
    because there are z electrons before the emission
    but there are only z-2 electrons after the emission
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  5. Sep 20, 2015 #4

    SteamKing

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    What's to keep the alpha particle from picking up the "extra" electrons?
     
  6. Sep 20, 2015 #5
    We know that the alpha particle comes from the nucleus of the parent atom. so the daughter must have 4 nucleons (2 protons and 2 neutrons) lesser than the parent.
    but the alpha particle does not contain any electron. so the daughter must have the same number of electrons which the parent had.
    so the daughter must be an negatively charged ion with 2 additional electrons. instead it is a neutral atom which may or may not be stable. how?
     
  7. Sep 20, 2015 #6
    sorry i'm not able to understand your question
     
  8. Sep 20, 2015 #7

    SteamKing

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    You say there's two electrons which allegedly go missing from the original element after it decays by emitting an alpha particle.

    What happens to these electrons which are allegedly missing? Do they vanish into thin air? Do they move to Phoenix?

    What's to keep them from being captured by the alpha particle, which has a charge of +2 when it is emitted from the nucleus of the decaying element?
     
  9. Sep 20, 2015 #8
    I'm also asking the same question - Where did these 2 electrons go?

    And if the emitted alpha particle captures these extra electrons, it must get neutralized before it comes out of the atom. So we should have detected uncharged radiations only. but we detect positvely charged radiations only. This shows that the alpha particle doesn't capture those electrons. So, where did these electrons go?
     
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2015
  10. Sep 20, 2015 #9

    SteamKing

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    Maybe these guys can tell you:

     
  11. Sep 20, 2015 #10
    i joined in this forum hoping that you guys might clear my doubt
     
  12. Sep 20, 2015 #11

    SteamKing

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