stardust101
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I would greatly appreciate help on the following:

When carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14, a neuron changes into a proton and a fast moving electron (which is emitted). The atomic number increases by one but the mass number is unchanged.

My question is: if the electron into which the neutron changed has been emitted,where did the other electron come from to balance the increased number of protons in nitrogen?

Thanks so much.
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TSR Jessica
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Sorry you've not had any responses about this. Are you sure you've posted in the right place? Here's a link to our subject forum which should help get you more responses if you post there.
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minertommy
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I think you're confusing yourself. I believe that a proton turns into a neutron, which fires out a high speed electron. Therefore the overall charge is still the same
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AyyJeh
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Depends on what we're talking about here;

Beta Decay: A neutron changes into a proton + an electron = an anti-electron neutrino (to conserve momentum).

Then we have different variations of beta decay:

Beta minus: Neutron = proton + electron + anti-electron neutrino
or
Beta Plus: Proton = neutron + positron + anti-electron neutrino

If you want me to help more, just pm me!
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MrMOI
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(Original post by stardust101)
I would greatly appreciate help on the following:

When carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14, a neuron changes into a proton and a fast moving electron (which is emitted). The atomic number increases by one but the mass number is unchanged.

My question is: if the electron into which the neutron changed has been emitted,where did the other electron come from to balance the increased number of protons in nitrogen?

Thanks so much.

Let me give an in depth explanation.

For small nucleus (smaller than Iron), the atom wants to have roughly a 1:1 proton to neutron ratio.

Carbon 14 is 6 protons and 8 neutrons, so we need to get rid of a neutron to make the ratio closer to 1:1 as the atom wants.

When you get rid of a neutron particle by beta minus decay (poster above me explained it well), you get a proton and an electron which goes flying out.

There are lots of electrons wondering around as most materials at room temperature have ionised electrons ready to be attracted by a positive substance.

SINCE THE Newly formed NITROGEN has 7 protons and only 6 electrons, a wandering electron WITH ENOUGH KINETIC ENERGY will now be lured and join the positive nitrogen atom making it 7 electrons, thus making the overall charge neutral again.

The key is to understand and appreciate the abundance of electrons around us, they simply need energy to be able to escape their current material that they are in and have some remaining KINETIC energy to "fly" to the positive nitrogen nucleus.

I teach A level physics at 6th form and specialise in nuclear physics so if you need help let me know.
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stardust101
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Thanks so much AyyJeh and MrMOI. This is incredibly helpful.
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minertommy
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oh it appears what I put was incorrect. I guess i'm confusing myself
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