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Radioactive Decay Series

Author: Andrew R. Barron

With the knowledge that radioactive decay can occur by loss of either an α particle and the decrease in atomic number by two or the loss of a β particle and the increase in atomic number by one, then we can understand the complete radioactive decay series. For example, uranium-238 decomposes to lead-206 via fourteen decay processes, even though they are only ten atomic numbers apart:

Last Update: 2011-02-16