Worksheet: Decay Chains

In this worksheet, we will practice describing the four radioactive decay chains and identifying the decay chain of an isotope from its nuclide symbol.

Q1:

An atom of 249Cf decays to 213Po via a series of 𝛼 and 𝛽 decays.

How many 𝛼 decays take place?

How many 𝛽 decays take place?

Q2:

An atom of 239Np decays to 207Pb via a series of 𝛼 and 𝛽 decays.

How many 𝛼 decays take place?

How many 𝛽 decays take place?

Q3:

An atom of 234Th decays to 206Pb via a series of 𝛼 and 𝛽 decays.

How many 𝛼 decays take place?

How many 𝛽 decays take place?

Q4:

An atom of 233U decays to 209Pb via a series of 𝛼 and 𝛽 decays.

How many 𝛼 decays take place?

How many 𝛽 decays take place?

Q5:

In which of the following groups do the listed nuclides form part of the same decay chain?

  • A248214224232Cm,Pb,Ra,Th
  • B229223243211Th,Fr,Am,Bi
  • C218206212238Po,Hg,Pb,U
  • D243215231235Pu,At,Pa,U
  • E237225231221Np,Ac,Th,Fr

Q6:

Which of the following nuclei is likely to decay to 209Bi?

  • A238U
  • B223Ra
  • C244Pu
  • D218Po
  • E233Pa

Q7:

Which of the following nuclei is likely to decay to 206Pb?

  • A211Bi
  • B240U
  • C224Ra
  • D217At
  • E218Po

Q8:

Which of the following nuclei is likely to decay to 207Pb?

  • A228Ac
  • B225Ra
  • C245Cf
  • D227Th
  • E222Rn

Q9:

Which of the following nuclei is likely to decay to 208Pb?

  • A227Ac
  • B234Th
  • C228Ra
  • D221Fr
  • E218At

Q10:

An atom of 221Fr converts to 209Bi via a sequence of 5 nuclear decays. The fourth and fifth decays are 𝛽 decays and the others are 𝛼 decays. Which of the following nuclides is not formed in this decay pathway?

  • A213Bi
  • B213Po
  • C217At
  • D209Pb
  • E209Tl

Q11:

An atom of 231Pa converts to 211Bi via a sequence of 7 nuclear decays. The third and seventh decays are 𝛽 decays and the others are 𝛼 decays. Which of the following nuclides is not formed in this decay pathway?

  • A223Fr
  • B223Ra
  • C227Th
  • D211Pb
  • E219Rn

Q12:

An atom of 224Ra converts to 208Pb via a sequence of 6 nuclear decays. The fourth and fifth decays are 𝛽 decays and the others are 𝛼 decays. Which of the following nuclides is not formed in this decay pathway?

  • A216Po
  • B212Bi
  • C208Tl
  • D212Po
  • E212Pb

Q13:

According to the following figure which represents a series of nuclear emissions, determine the type of particles emitted in 1, 2, 3, and 4 respectively.

  • AAlpha, alpha, beta, and beta particles
  • BAlpha, beta, beta, and beta particles
  • CAlpha, beta, beta, and beta particles
  • DAlpha, beta, beta, and alpha particles

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