Why are beta particles less penetrating than x-rays?

  • Thread starter ZedCar
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  • #1
ZedCar
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Homework Statement


Why are beta particles less penetrating than x-rays?
 

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  • #2
Delphi51
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What will happen when betas approach the cloud of electrons around the atoms of a material?
 
  • #3
ZedCar
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What will happen when betas approach the cloud of electrons around the atoms of a material?

The β particle has a charge. It will be attracted to any molecules or atoms with an opposite charge, causing it to smash into them.

The photons of the x-ray have no charge. They can move further through empty space without hitting anything.
 
  • #4
Delphi51
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It will be attracted to any molecules or atoms with an opposite charge
Approaching electrons only see the outer charges of molecules and atoms. If you consider the sign of the charges involved, you will see that there is no attraction. If they are going fast enough there will be some crashing, though.

The lack of charge does enable the x-rays to make it through materials, too. It would be worth looking up the range of photon energies that atoms and molecules can absorb.
 

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