One of the most important discoveries in the field of science was of alpha particles which was done by Ernest Rutherford. When the nucleus of atoms are unstable, they release alpha particles to gain stability, and this process is known as alpha decay. Alpha decay is the main source of the formation of alpha radiations. Some of the examples of elements in which alpha decay takes place are Uranium, Plutonium, etc. They cannot go inside the human’s skin, therefore are harmless for humans externally. They can be stopped even by a thick piece of paper. However, as mentioned earlier, they can cause harm to soft living tissues.
An Alpha Particle Coming out of an Atom
Properties of Alpha Particles
They are heavy as compared to particles of other radiations.
They are highly energetic and thus use up their energy over short distances and are unable to travel far from the atom.
Their penetrating power (power to go inside an object) is low.
What are Alpha Rays Used for?
Alpha particles are highly energised radiation. Some of their important uses are listed below:
They are used in the treatment of cancer.
They are used in smoke detectors.
They are used in providing power to spacecrafts.
They are used in oil industry.
They are used in medical field to provide power to heart pacemakers.
Industrial Use of Alpha Rays
It is important to explore where are alpha particles used. Some of their industrial uses are as follows:
They are used to remove static electricity, for example, in paper mills.
They are used in the oil industry to give power to some of their tools.
They are typically used as a source of fuel.
1. Alpha rays are produced by which type of decay?
Ans: Option (a) Alpha decay
2. Alpha rays are used in which of the following gadgets?
Ans: Option (b) Smoke alarm
3. Alpha rays can treat which of the following diseases?
Ans: Option (a) Cancer
Alpha particles are heavy, positively charged, and high energy particles which are produced during alpha decay of heavy atoms. They are used in various fields which benefit humans at an advanced level, for example, it was almost impossible to make a person’s heart beat again after it stopped working once, but today, we have heart pacemakers which turned impossible into reality. Alpha Rays are used as fuel that provides energy to the heart pacemaker. Apart from the medical field, they are used in various other industries.