• Support PF! Buy your school textbooks, materials and every day products Here!

Simple questions m8's about neutrons

  • #1
Hey guys,
I was wondering if light or heavy elements would be better at stopping slow moving neutrons? And how come? By heavy and light, i mean mass.

I always thought a heavy element would have a better chance of stopping particles because they have a high probability of smacking the heavy elements' nucleus, but does this apply to neutrons flying through other heavy elements? Kinda like Rutherford's experiment eh?

Thanks guys.
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
508
0
kylemadigan,
since the neutron has zero charge, it does not feel any electromagnetic repulsion from the nucleus (the force that governs Rutherford's experiment of elastic scattering). Instead, the neutron goes right through, thus probing the inner structure of the target nucleus. If it is absorbed (an inelastic process), then this happens via resonance.
Yes I agree, the heavier a nucleus is, the more resonance peaks will be there. However, experiment has found that the cross-section for absorption can vary by a factor of ~100, depending on neutron energy. Here's a quote from Paul A. Tipler's 'Physics': "Some isotopes, like e.g. 113Cd, reach a cross-section of more than 50000 barns and thus are very useful in shielding low-energy neutrons."
 
  • #3
ahh very interesting information arcnets. thanks for the all the insightful info m8. thanks to you and hallsofivy.
 

Related Threads on Simple questions m8's about neutrons

  • Last Post
Replies
4
Views
2K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Last Post
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
12
Views
765
  • Last Post
Replies
0
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
10
Views
9K
  • Last Post
Replies
22
Views
4K
  • Last Post
Replies
1
Views
10K
  • Last Post
Replies
6
Views
2K
Top