• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

Determine the penetrating power and the range in air of the three radioactive emissions (Plutonium 239 for alpha, Strontium 90 for beta and Cobalt 60 for gamma).

Extracts from this document...

Introduction

Aim

To determine the penetrating power and the range in air of the three radioactive emissions (Plutonium 239 for alpha, Strontium 90 for beta and Cobalt 60 for gamma).

Method 1

The apparatus were set up as in the diagram below to measure the range in air up to 50 cm for each source.

Before the experiment took place the background radiation was measured as 80 counts in 5 minutes therefore 16 counts per minute.  Experimental precautions were:

The radioactive source is aligned with a ruler to the GM tube as accurately as possible so that the maximum radiation is measured

A set square was used to measure the exact point at which the source and tube were placed

The counter was reset each time so the counter read zero so this would reduce zero error in the experiment and the hold button was pressed to freeze the measurement

Thirty seconds were left between the start of the count and the recording so the reading would be less instantaneous and more reliable

...read more.

Middle

Distance (cm)

Corrected counts per 30secs.

Counts per 30secs. (original data)

5

526

534

10

183

191

15

99

107

20

41

49

25

37

45

30

30

38

35

19

27

40

25

33

45

19

27

50

12

20

Results 2

Alpha - paper

Material

Corrected counts per 30secs.

Counts per 30secs. (original data)

None

152

160

Tissue paper

8

16

Paper

0

8

Card

4

12

Beta - aluminium

Thickness (mm)

...read more.

Conclusion

Evaluation

The results were quite accurate as they corresponded with evidence in the AS/A2 Physics (Mee, Cundell, Arnold and Brown) and the Nelson Modular Science (Mark Elise and Chris Honey) books.   However some of the graphs required lines of best fit to distinguish a trend.  The results were precise as they followed a nearly uniform pattern of an exponential graph.

However in the graph for gamma ‘s range in air the smaller count rates were not steady and the increased further away from the source for one reading but then decreased again.  This could be due to the fact thast decay is a random process.  Furthermore the background radiation may not have been as constant and precise as thought.  The percentage error in the GM counter is:

= absolute error x 100% = 0.000

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Here's what a star student thought of this essay

4 star(s)

Response to the question

This is a well-structured and well thought out piece, with a good understanding of the underlying physics. You have included most necessary sections such as safety, method and evaluation, but you are missing your preliminary work. Even just a small ...

Read full review

Response to the question

This is a well-structured and well thought out piece, with a good understanding of the underlying physics. You have included most necessary sections such as safety, method and evaluation, but you are missing your preliminary work. Even just a small paragraph stating your thoughts and choice of materials before the experiment would do, as you have not otherwise shown evidence of planning your experiment, so you could not achieve full marks. You have shown your raw data and shown the intermediate steps you have taken to determine your conclusion, which allows the reliability of your experiment to be analysed.

Level of analysis

You have shown understanding of topics regarding your experiment, and used this to identify any problems or steps that must be taken to accurately conduct your experiment, such as testing the background radiation and removing this count from your result. You have chosen your radioactive materials well, but without information on why you chose these particular isotopes (which is a rich topic to talk about – really an opportunity missed there) this is irrelevant as it could be luck without evidence to the contrary. The last paragraph shows a 0.000% error in the results, which is incorrect, where it should be negligible and you should talk about this fact.

Quality of writing

Spelling and language are of a very high standard, but short, single point sentences with little punctuation such as commas are used throughout, which doesn’t present the good physics as well as it could. The graphs and tables are well presented and do help add to the information in the text. Appropriate scientific language and specifics is used well. The piece flows as the experiment is conducted - beginning, data collected, analysed and conclusion in order.


Did you find this review helpful? Join our team of reviewers and help other students learn

Reviewed by pratstercs 15/02/2012

Read less
Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Radioactivity essays

  1. Marked by a teacher

    Is nuclear power the future? Should we build more nuclear power stations in ...

    4 star(s)

    The data is from the Royal Academy of Engineering and the Nuclear Energy Institute of the US both of which are reliable organisations whose members will have real knowledge and experience. Disadvantages of Nuclear Power There are several reasons why many people are against nuclear power.

  2. Mutagenesis: The Effect of Radiation on Radish Seeds.

    This trend was the same for each group that was observed. The control (0 rads exposure) for all groups, except the leaf group, exhibited the longest height as compared to the data for radiation exposed seeds (Table 1). In the leaf group, the 50,000 rads exposed seeds had a greater

  1. Radioactivity Experiments: To determine the penetrating power and the range in air of the ...

    pressed to freeze the measurement * Thirty seconds were left between the start of the count and the recording so the reading would be less instantaneous and more reliable * Everything was kept constant for all three experiments and the counts were recorded at regular intervals of 5 cm.

  2. Investigate how the material of a cup affects the time it takes for the ...

    Everything in the experiment should be kept the same apart from the cup, which I will change for each experiment 1. I will boil some water in a kettle 2. Measure 100ml of boiling water in a measuring cylinder 3.

  1. The Importance Of Radioactive Decay And Half-Life.

    Libby and his associates at the University of Chicago in 1947, are frequently useful in deciphering time-related problems in archaeology, anthropology, oceanography, pedology, climatology, and recent geology. Through metabolic activity, the level of carbon-14 in a living organism remains in constant balance with the level in the atmosphere or some

  2. My aim is to find out which material is the best insulator out of ...

    My results were not that accurate even though I did the experiment three times, I still got some different results that were kind of odd by a small number of degrees.

  1. To model the sample of radioactivity decay on material, using dice.

    It shows that every time an atom splits or a dice lands on a particular number, that it goes down a 1/6(in theory/) each time. The message that is trying to be put across by the graph is that no matter what the atom or dice are decayed by, the

  2. Should we use Nuclear power in the UK

    safety, I think this takes too long and they shouldn't use this method of energy production or think of a safer and quicker way of disposing the waste. And finally nuclear energy from uranium and used it, there won't be any more left.

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work