1. Limited time only! Sign up for a free 30min personal tutor trial with Chegg Tutors
    Dismiss Notice
Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Why is a neutron ionizing radiation?

  1. Nov 7, 2014 #1
    Why and how does a neutron knock electrons off of atoms?

    Is it because a neutron is not exactly neutral? Is a neutron composed of smaller charged particles which interact with the electrons when it gets close?
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 7, 2014 #2
    It does not.
    Neutron can knock out _protons_ out of atomic nuclei.
    And neutron can be absorbed by a nucleus. In many cases resultant heavier isotope is unstable to beta-decay.
  4. Nov 7, 2014 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    As with all questions of this sort, you will get better answers if you spend some time searching the web first, see what you find, then come back here with more specific questions based on what you learn there.

  5. Nov 7, 2014 #4
    Yes, I looked at the wikipedia article and I see that neutrons cause ionization by causing the nucleus to become unstable.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook