How do o assure that radioactive isotopes emit certain types of decay Watch

Thecyclist
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How do i know if U-233 and Rn-220 undergoes alpha decay why not beta or gamma decay
How do i know in the first place which isotopes should undergo particular type of radiation alpha gamma or beta
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Thecyclist
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and cant edit the "o" in the title helpless :/
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danr2
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it happens randomly so you can't tell what a radioactive isotope is about to emit..
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Plagioclase
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(Original post by Thecyclist)
How do i know if U-233 and Rn-220 undergoes alpha decay why not beta or gamma decay
How do i know in the first place which isotopes should undergo particular type of radiation alpha gamma or beta
Generally speaking, nuclides heaver than 208Pb undergo alpha decay, neutron rich nuclides undergo beta - decay and proton rich nuclides undergo beta + decay. However, which decay mechanism actually happens will probably be to do with the quantum mechanics of that particular nuclide so I don't think there's any way you can know for absolute certain (without looking it up in a table, where people have worked it out experimentally and/or theoretically). If you look at this table of nuclides (or this more detailed table), you will see that whilst the trends I've described above are generally true, there are exceptions, particularly with the heavier nuclides.
(Original post by danr2)
it happens randomly so you can't tell what a radioactive isotope is about to emit..
Decay is random but the decay mechanism isn't. You say with certainty, for instance, that 26Al decays by beta +.
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