Exponential Decay of Activity
Quantum and Nuclear

Episode 513: Preparation for the exponential decay topic

Lesson for 16-19 IOP TAP

Students will:

  • Define the term half-life
  • Make calculations involving numbers of half-lives
  • Relate half-life to decay probability l
  • Measure the half-life of a fast-decaying nuclide
  • Use exponential and logarithmic equations for radioactive decay

Main aims

Prior knowledge

Basic, descriptive radioactivity should already have been covered. Students will have previously been introduced to the term half-life, but are unlikely to be confident in using the quantity in calculations.

Where this leads

The mathematics of exponential decay parallels that of capacitor discharge, damped SHM etc, so these would be suitable topics to tackle next. If students have already met these topics, you could usefully spend time drawing the parallels between them.

Exponential Decay of Activity
can be analysed using the quantity Activity
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