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Homework Help: Can a radioactive element decay by emitting more than 1 particles at once?

  1. Sep 9, 2006 #1
    Staight question :

    Can a radioactive element decay by emmitting more than 1 particles at once? ie. can a radioactive Uranium decay 2 beta and 1 alpha particles at the same time, or it must decay 1 particle (eg beta), itself becomes another elements and then decay further?

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 9, 2006 #2


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    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor

    The short answer is no.

    Radioactive decay is essentially exclusively by one particle (mode) during a single event.

    In the case of fission, where the nuclear breaks apart into two nuclei, a number of neutrons are also released. The number of neutrons varies between 2 or 3, with the average value in between.
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