Radioactive Decay

Radon vs Radon Decay Products

  • Radon is a gas
  • Radon Decay Products are solids

Radioactive Decay

  • Radon decays every 2.22 decays per minute into a solid product
  • The disintegration of the nuclei of atoms in a radioactive element.
  • Decay Rate = the rate at which the nuclei disintegrates
  • Decay Rate = Half Life

The Meaning of Half Life

Half Life is the time required for half of the atoms to decay.  It is not the time for all of the atoms to decay. Usually by the time ten half-lives have passed, there is so little of the substance left that it can be considered zero, but in reality, it keeps decaying infinitely. Radon’s half-life is 3.8 days – plenty of time to get into a house and into the lungs of its occupants!

Radon Decay Products

  • Source of cell damage in lungs
  • Have static charges
  • Chemically reactive
  • Solid particles
  • Heavy Metals
  • Easily attach themselves to solid objects such as dust, smoke, walls, floors, clothing, or any other object (plate out).