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Conservation of angular momentum in nuclear physics

  1. Mar 18, 2014 #1
    Say a uranium-238 nucleus with angular momentum II decays to thorium-234 plus an alpha particle. Will the sum of the angular momenta of the thorium-234 nucleus and the alpha particle equal II? What if a photon was emitted during this process, would Ithorium+Iα+hbar=II?

    thanks
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Mar 18, 2014 #2

    mfb

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    The relative motion of the nuclei can carry angular momentum, so the result can be different.
     
  4. Mar 19, 2014 #3
    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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