Application of Radioactivity, Chemistry tutorial


The modern world has come to witness the application of radiation activity of sub-atomic particles and electromagnetic rays in different spheres of human life. This has contributed hugely to the enhancement of quality of life. Radio nuclei have found application in archeological research, diagnosis, agricultural practices, treatment of different diseases condition and nuclear power reactor and so on.

Use of Radionuclide in Archeology/Environmental Studies:

Radiological dating is a method by environmentalist, archeologist, geologist and history to find out the age of artifact is it plants or animals, like wood, fibres, natural pigment bone and cotton. This is completed by measuring the amount of carbon-14, a natural taking place radioactive form of carbon.

The radioactive carbon-14 is produced continuously in the upper atmosphere as nitrogen atom captures cosmic ray neutrons.

147N + 10n → 146C + 11H

The radioactive carbon-dioxide 146CO2 is generated from the reaction of 146C with oxygen.

After death, plant uptake of 146CO2 steps

Carbon-14 experiences beta decay, the amount of radioactive carbon in the plant material decrease steadily: 

146C → 147N + 01e

Researchers make use of half-life of carbon-14 (5,730 years) to compute the length of time, an event (such as death of plant take) place. The carbon-14 methods are helpful only for dating objects less than 50,000 years old. Older object can be analyzed studied by using K-Ar and U-Pb processes that are capable of examining older object as K-40, Ar-40 has half-life of 1.3 billion years. Via radiological dating, the age of rocks brought back from the moon via the Apollo mission was found to be around 4 x 10a year compute around the age computes for earth.

Uses of Radioactivity in Agricultural activities:

The use of radiation of sub atomic particles to enhance agricultural practices is a main landmark in human endeavor. The absorption of gamma rays assists in removing the dangerous strain of Ecoherichia coli bacteria mainly in red meat. The use of pesticide DDT has been confirmed toxic, to human and animal which is repeatedly exposed to it. This has been efficiently substituted via a radiological method. This is employed indirectly to sterilize the males' larva producing no offspring. The food item treated doesn't carry the radioactive rays.

Industrial Uses:

There are numerous application of radioactivity in industry and engineering. It assists in industries whenever precision is of significance and required. The flow of liquid or gas via a pipeline can be monitored through injection of a sample having a radioactive substance. Leaks in pipes can as well be detected simply, thus preserving the life.

Medical Uses:

The utilization of nuclides as radioactive tracers in medicine has been worldwide acknowledged. A radiation detector can be employed to follow the path of the element all through the body system. Cobalt radiation treatment for cancerous tumor is recognized. Solution of Na is injected to bloodstream to follow the flow of blood and locate obstacle to circulatory system.

Thallium-201 to technetium-99 has been employed to survey damage from heart disease. Iodine-123 concentrates in the thyroid gland, liver and some portion of the brain. This radioactive kind is employed to monitor goiter and frequently thyroid problems.

Scientific Research:

The pathway of clinical drug can be investigated by employing the radioactive tracers.  

By using labeled radioactive compound such as 14CO2 helps in identifying the intermediate molecules. Illustration is photosynthetic procedure. Labeled 14CO2 assists in the tracing intermediate molecule.

Uranium-235 is employed in binding nuclear power plant comprises nuclear research and also producing energy to drive industries.

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