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Transmutation - Concept

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Teacher/Instructor Kendal Orenstein
Kendal Orenstein

Rutger's University
M.Ed., Columbia Teachers College

Kendal founded an academic coaching company in Washington D.C. and teaches in local area schools. In her spare time she loves to explore new places.

Transmutation is the conversion of an atom of one element to an atom of another through nuclear reactions. Induced nuclear transmutation is transmutation which is induced by scientists by striking the nuclei with high volume particles. Transuranium elements are elements with atomic numbers larger than 92, or unnaturally occurring elements which must be created by bombarding uranium with protons.

We're going to talk about transmutation and transmutation is exactly what it sounds like when it's when one atom converts to another atom, it mutates, it changes so when you think about it all nuclear reactions are transmutation reactions but we have things that are called induced trans- trans- nuclear transmutation reactions and that's when we force the reaction to occur what we're having is not radioactive I may force it to change into something else.

So let's talk about nitrogen for example, nitrogen actually is not radioactive totally fine element, I totally stable but actually want to gain something out of it like can even gain a proton or I want to gain some sort of oxygen compound or isotope, how do we go about doing that? Well we can bombard these nitrogen atoms some helium or alpha particles, helium nuclei alpha particles at very very high speed so what happens is this helium particle is going to bombard it's going to enter the nucleus as the nitrogen and you're going to end up with unstable fluorine atom so notice the 4, 4+14 mass number equals 18 and the 2+7 atomic number equals 9 so we're going to end up with a new atom we mutated this nitrogen into a fluorine very unstable and fluorine gets break down so now it can be a normal radioactive element normal radioactive reaction and it's going to breakdown to a proton and an isotope of oxygen. So here's the example of an induced transmutation right here also if you think about look at the our periodic table elements we have things called transuranium elements and transuranium elements are things with atomic number larger than 92 so uranium actually the the biggest naturally kind of atom on the planet earth so we can we could we do is we can bombard this uranium atom with proton with proton with another particle we can gain we can get something different something brand new this is neptunium actually with atomic number 93 so this is actually a man made synthetic atom. Everything above atomic number 92 is going to be manmade or synthetic, so we go over here, here is uranium, there's no element on earth actually that has the atomic number naturally occurring as higher that 92 so all these guys are all manmade they're all synthetically made by induced transmutation that's why they have names hat actually names that actually are named after the scientist that named them, that discovered them.

Things like actinium, things like curium [IB] named after Mary Kelly then there's brotherfodium named after Albert [IB] actually [IB] I'm sorry and there's mendolithium which I think is which I think is where is that? Down here anyway so all these are named after either the scientist that discovered them or location that they want to dedicate to so that is, these are all indeed transformed.