Atoms and Radiation – Question 3

(a) A radioactive source emits alpha (α), beta (β) and gamma (γ) radiation.

(i) Which two types of radiation will pass through a sheet of card?

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(1 mark)

(ii) Which two types of radiation would be deflected by an electric field?

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(1 mark)

(iii) Which type of radiation has the greatest range in air?

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(1 mark)

(b) A student suggests that the radioactive source should be stored in a freezer at –20 °C.

The student thinks that this would reduce the radiation emitted from the source.

Suggest why the student is wrong.

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(1 mark)

(c) Phosphorus-32 is a radioactive isotope that emits beta radiation.

(i) How is an atom of phosphorus-32 different from an atom of the stable isotope phosphorus-31?

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(1 mark)

(ii) The graph shows how the count rate of a sample of phosphorus-32 changes with time.


Use the graph to calculate the half-life of phosphorus-32.

Show clearly how you used the graph to obtain your answer.

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Half-life = .............................. days
(2 marks)

(iii) Plants use phosphorus compounds to grow. Watering the root system of a plant with a solution containing a phosphorus-32 compound can help scientists to understand the growth process.


Explain why phosphorus-32 is suitable for use as a tracer in this situation.

4 lines(2 marks)

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From Q4 P1 AQA January 2008 but now on P2 syllabus

Atoms and Radiation – Question 3 was last modified: October 7th, 2015 by Olly Wedgwood

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