Posted by Chloe on .
I'm a bit confused as to when I should use an alpha particle and when to use a beta particle in a nuclear equation. For instance, the nuclear equation for carbon-14 is nitrogen-14 and a beta particle. Could I also say the equation is Berylium-13 and an alpha particle since an alpha particle has atomic mass 4 and 2 protons? Thank you for your help!
I'm not exactly sure of your confusion. Elements that are above the band of stability (too many neutrons) generally emit beta particles. C14 is in the category. Be 13 is a radioactive isotope of the usual Be we see and of course it has a neutron:proton ratio that is too high also. It does decay by beta emission, too. Here is a site that shows the transitions. It would not normally be expected to decay by alpha emission.
I understand now. Thank you.