what happens to substances when they undergo radioactive decay
February 6, 2014 9:28 AM Subscribe
Radioisotopes decay into a different element (usually) based on what they emit, and the decay chain is easy to follow, well understood, etc.
But what happens when the radioisotope is part of a ionic compound ?
posted by k5.user to Science & Nature (5 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The cesium compound in the Goiania incident
was cesium chloride. That cesium isotope decays into stable barium.
So when the cesium decays, you're left with barium chloride ? That seems wrong because the chloride ion count would be different. (CsCl vs BaCl2), not to mention the crystal/lattice structure would probably be different.
So what happens ?
Similarly, for non-ionic bound radioisotopes, when the isotope is in a rock or metal compound, and decays, what happens ? The bonds/structure should seemingly change ..