Another entry in the half ass chem project.
What kind of radiation is classified as ionizing radiation?
Ionizing radiation takes a few forms: Alpha, beta, and neutron particles, and gamma and X-rays. All types are caused by unstable atoms, which have either an excess of energy or mass (or both).
Theres a who link I deleted since theyve been discredited lately.
ome types of radiation have enough energy that they can knock electrons out of their orbits around atoms, upsetting the electron/proton balance and giving the atom a positive charge. Electrically charged molecules and atoms are called ions. The radiation that can produce ions is called ionizing radiation.
There are many types of ionizing radiation. The following are some of the relevant ones:
Alpha radiation consists of two protons and two neutrons; since they have no electrons, they carry a positive charge. Due to their size and charge, alpha particles are barely able to penetrate skin and can be stopped completely by a sheet of paper.
Beta radiation consists of fast-moving electrons ejected from the nucleus of an atom. Beta radiation has a negative charge and is about 1/7000th the size of an alpha particle, so it is more penetrating. However, it can still be stopped by a small amount of shielding, such as a sheet of plastic.
Gamma radiation is a very penetrating type of radiation. It is usually emitted immediately after the ejection of an alpha or beta particle from the nucleus of an atom. Because it has no mass or charge, it can pass through the human body, but it is absorbed by denser materials, such as concrete or lead.
X-rays are a form of radiation similar to gamma radiation, but they are produced mainly by artificial means rather than from radioactive substances.
Neutron radiation occurs when neutrons are ejected from the nucleus by nuclear fission and other processes. The nuclear chain reaction is an example of nuclear fission, where a neutron being ejected from one fissioned atom causes another atom to fission, ejecting more neutrons. Unlike other radiations, neutron radiation is absorbed by materials with lots of hydrogen atoms, like paraffin wax and plastics.
What effect does ionizing radiation have on water?
The radicals formed when ionizing radiation passes through water are among the strongest oxidizing agents that can exist in aqueous solution. At the molecular level, these oxidizing agents destroy biologically active molecules by either removing electrons or removing hydrogen atoms.
Effects on water
Water subjected to ionizing radiation forms free radicals of hydrogen and hydroxyl, which can recombine to form gaseous hydrogen, oxygen, hydrogen peroxide, hydroxyl radicals, and peroxide radicals. In living organisms, which are composed mostly of water, majority of the damage is caused by the reactive oxygen species, free radicals produced from water. The free radicals attack the biomolecules forming structures within the cells, causing oxidative stress (a cumulative damage which may be significant enough to cause the cell death, or may cause DNA damage possibly leading to cancer).
In cooling systems of nuclear reactors, the formation of free oxygen would promote corrosion and is counteracted by addition of hydrogen to the cooling water. The hydrogen is not consumed as for each molecule reacting with oxygen one molecule is liberated by radiolysis of water; the excess hydrogen just serves to shift the reaction equilibriums by providing the initial hydrogen radicals. The reducing environment in pressurized water reactors is less prone to buildup of oxidative species. The chemistry of boiling water reactor coolant is more complex, as the environment can be oxidizing. Most of the radiolytic activity occurs in the core of the reactor where the neutron flux is highest; the bulk of energy is deposited in water from fast neutrons and gamma radiation, the contribution of thermal neutrons is much lower. In air-free water, the concentration of hydrogen, oxygen, and hydrogen peroxide reaches steady state at about 200 Gy of radiation. In presence of dissolved oxygen, the reactions continue until the oxygen is consumed and the equilibrium is shifted. Neutron activation of water leads to buildup of low concentrations of nitrogen species; due to the oxidizing effects of the reactive oxygen species, these tend to be present in the form of nitrate anions. In reducing environments, ammonia may be formed. Ammonia ions may be however also subsequently oxidized to nitrates. Other species present in the coolant water are the oxidized corrosion products (e.g. chromates) and fission products (e.g. pertechnetate and periodate anions, uranyl and neptunyl cations). Absorption of neutrons in hydrogen nuclei leads to buildup of deuterium and tritium in the water. Behavior of supercritical water, important for the supercritical water reactors, differs from the radiochemical behavior of liquid water and steam and is currently under investigation.
The magnitude of the effects of radiation on water is dependent on the type and energy of the radiation, namely its linear energy transfer. A gas-free water subjected to low-LET gamma rays yields almost no radiolysis products and sustains an equilibrium with their low concentration. High-LET alpha radiation produces larger amounts of radiolysis products. In presence of dissolved oxygen, radiolysis always occurs. Dissolved hydrogen completely suppresses radiolysis by low-LET radiation while radiolysis still occurs with
The presence of reactive oxygen species has strongly disruptive effect on dissolved organic chemicals. This is exploited in groundwater remediation by electron beam treatment.
Like drinking heavy water
Why is there concern about changes to matter as a result of exposure to ionizing radiation?
Featured snippet from the web
Ionizing radiation can change the structure of the cells, sometimes creating potentially harmful effects that are more likely to cause changes in tissue. These changes can interfere with cellular processes so cells might not be able to divide or they might divide too much.
Ionizing radiation damages the genetic material in reproductive cells and results in mutations that are transmitted from generation to generation. The mutagenic effects of radiation were first recognized in the 1920s, and since that time radiation has been used in genetic research as an important means of obtaining new mutations in experimental organisms.
radiation: energy released or transmitted in the form of rays, waves, or particles