Is total electric charge conserved in alpha decay?


Is total electric charge conserved in alpha decay?

Conservation of Electric Charge:

The conservation of electric charge refers to the need for the charge of all products of a reaction to equal the charge of the atom before the reaction. The charges come from the charge of the particles involved, such as the protons and electrons of an atom.

Answer and Explanation: 1

Yes, the total electrical charge is conserved in alpha decay. For example, the charge of a uranium atom's nucleus is +92 for the 92 protons in the nucleus. When the nucleus ejects the alpha particle, the charge for the nucleus decreases by two, giving the nucleus a charge of +90. However, the alpha particle ejected has two protons and a charge of +2. When we add the charge of the alpha particle to the charge of the daughter atom, we see that the total is +92, meaning that the electrical charge is converted in alpha decay.

Learn more about this topic:

Radioactive Decay: Definition, Formula & Types


Chapter 22 / Lesson 7

Learn the radioactive decay definition. Know the radioactive decay formula. Explore the differences between alpha decay, beta decay, and gamma emission.

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