## Nuclear equation

In nuclear chemistry, a nuclear equation is a mathematical representation of a nuclear reaction, which is a process that involves changes to the nucleus of an atom. A nuclear equation shows the reactants (the atoms or isotopes that are involved in the reaction) on the left side of an arrow and the products (the atoms or isotopes that are produced by the reaction) on the right side of the arrow. The arrow represents the fact that a nuclear reaction is a transformation of one type of atomic nucleus into another.

Radioactive decay is a type of nuclear reaction in which an unstable nucleus spontaneously emits subatomic particles (such as alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays) in order to become more stable. Radioactive decay is a random process, and it is impossible to predict when a particular atom will decay. However, the rate of decay for a given isotope is constant, and it is characterized by a half-life, which is the time it takes for half of a sample of the isotope to decay.

Radioactive decay can have various impacts on the environment and on living organisms, depending on the type and amount of radiation that is emitted and the distance from the source of the radiation. Radioactive decay is used in a variety of applications, including medicine, energy production, and research.

## Sample Test Question

A sample of radon-222 (Rn-222) decays to polonium-218 (Po-218) and emits an alpha particle. Write the balanced nuclear equation for this reaction.

To solve this problem, you need to identify the reactants and products of the reaction and write them in the correct form. In this case, the reactant is Rn-222, and the product is Po-218. The alpha particle is also a product of the reaction, but it is not written as a separate element in the equation. Instead, it is represented by the symbol “alpha” (α).

The balanced nuclear equation for this reaction is:

Rn-222 -> Po-218 + α

This equation shows that Rn-222 decays to form Po-218 and emits an alpha particle in the process.

1. Write the balanced nuclear equation for the decay of radium-226 (Ra-226) to radon-222 (Rn-222) and an alpha particle.
2. Write the balanced nuclear equation for the decay of americium-241 (Am-241) to neptunium-237 (Np-237) and a beta particle.
3. Write the balanced nuclear equation for the decay of technetium-99m (Tc-99m) to technetium-99 (Tc-99) and a gamma ray.
4. Write the balanced nuclear equation for the decay of carbon-14 (C-14) to nitrogen-14 (N-14) and a beta particle.
5. Write the balanced nuclear equation for the decay of protactinium-231 (Pa-231) to actinium-227 (Ac-227) and an alpha particle.