What decay is americium?

What decay is americium?

3.1 Americium Americium (Am, atomic number 95) is an artificial actinide. Its most important isotope is americium-241 (half-life 432.7 years), which is produced by the beta-decay of plutonium-241. Americium-241 is used commercially in applications such as smoke detectors, thickness gauges, and fluid level gauges.

Does americium undergo alpha decay?

Americium-241, a radioactive element best known for its use in smoke detectors, is a good example of an element that undergoes alpha decay.

What type of decay does americium 243 undergo?

alpha decay
Americium’s most stable isotope, americium-243, has a half-life of about 7,370 years. It decays into neptunium-239 through alpha decay. Americium can be produced in kilogram quantities and has a few practical uses. It is used in smoke detectors and can be used as a portable source of gamma rays.

Why does americium decay into a different element?

Americium (95Am) is an artificial element, and thus a standard atomic weight cannot be given. Like all artificial elements, it has no known stable isotopes. The artificial element decays by ejecting alpha particles. Americium has an atomic number of 95 (the number of protons in the nucleus of the americium atom).

What is the alpha decay of Am-241?

Am-241 decays 100% by alpha transitions to Np-237. Most of the decay (84.6 %) populate the excited level of Np-237 with energy of 59.54 keV. Branching of Am-241 decay by spontaneous fission is 3,6 (9) E-10 %.

What type of decay does plutonium 241 undergo?

beta decay
Isotope 241Pu is formed in a nuclear reactor from fertile isotope 240Pu. Absorption of a resonance or thermal neutron by the 240Pu nucleus yields 241Pu. Pu decays via beta decay into 241Am with half-life of only 14.3 years.

What does the 241 in americium-241 represent?

Because of the low penetration of alpha radiation, americium-241 only poses a health risk when ingested or inhaled. Older samples of plutonium containing plutonium-241 contain a buildup of 241Am….Americium-241.

Symbol 241Am
Names americium-241, Am-241
Protons 95
Neutrons 146

What is AM-241 used for?

Americium-241 is used as a neutron source in non-destructive testing of machinery and equipment, and as a thickness gauge in the glass industry. However, its most common application is as an ionization source in smoke detectors, and most of the several kilograms of americium made each year are used in this way.

How does americium-241 work in smoke detectors?

The americium-241 in ionization chamber smoke detectors makes the air in the detector’s sensing chamber conduct electricity. When smoke enters the sensing chamber, it interrupts the electrical current, triggering the smoke detector’s alarm.

How is americium-241 used in paper industry?

Category: Industrial Radiation — Industrial Applications Americium-241 (241Am) is used in many detectors to measure (1) smoke in homes, (2) toxic lead in old wall paint, (3) the thickness of foil and paper while in production, and (4) water moisture or hydrocarbons (oil) in soil.

What is the alpha decay of Am 241?

Is americium 241 manmade or natural?

Radionuclide Basics: Americium-241 Americium (chemical symbol Am) is a man-made radioactive metal that is solid under normal conditions. Americium is produced when plutonium absorbs neutrons in nuclear reactors or during nuclear weapons tests. Americium-241 is the most common form of Americium.

Is americium 241 harmful?

Americium-241 has the same general hazards as other americium isotopes: it is both extremely toxic and radioactive. Although α-particles can be stopped by a sheet of paper, there are serious health concerns for ingestion of α-emitters. Americium and its isotopes are also very chemically toxic as well, in the form of heavy-metal toxicity.

Does americium 241 occur naturally?

According to Lenntech, americium most likely occurs naturally in incredibly trace amounts in uranium minerals due to nuclear reactions. Due to the longevity of the isotope, americium-241 can stay in the body for decades.

What type of radiation is given off by americium 241?

There is little danger from the α radiation unless the americium is inhaled or ingested. For this reason, it is a bad idea to dismantle or burn a smoke detector, because this could release americium into the environment. However, americium-241 also emits gamma rays , which are much more penetrating than α particles.