November 25, 2015

Homework Help: Chemistry - radioactivity

Posted by Constantine on Friday, April 19, 2013 at 8:28pm.

Hello Dr.Bob. Could you check my work please? I'm not sure if I'm right in how I solved this problem.

Which of the following nuclides are most likely to decay via beta decay?

A) I-131 B) Pb-206 C) F-18 D) Zr-90 E) Ar-40

I know that nuclides undergo beta decay when they are too heavy to be stable. Out of the nuclides listed, three can be considered heavy. These are: Pb-206 which has atomic mass of 207.2, F-18 with atomic mass of 19 and Zr-90 with atomic mass of 91.22. Would it be enough for a question like this to reason that since the difference between the atomic numbers is the greatest for Zr-90, then it is the nuclide which is more likely to decay? Or do I need to take the valley of stability into consideration? The reason I ask about the valley of stability is because a question like this will likely be on the exam and I don't believe we need to memorize the table of stability.

Thank you so much for your help.

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