Nuclear Transmutation Part 1

did you know that scientists can take

one element and turn it into another by

taking an atom and slamming protons and

neutrons into it yeah it's true this is

called nuclear transformation which is

also sometimes known as nuclear

transmutation and this is a big deal

because for thousands of years people

have been trying to turn one element

into another right like the alchemists

were all about doing this they wanted to

like fix it on the idea of turning lead

into gold and I thought like oh I boil

the lead and big pot and add some

lizards eyes Mouse tails and say the

right spells maybe I can turn light into

gold well that's not easy because LEM

gold are totally different elements it's

not just like melting water or something

like that so to change one element into

another you've got to change the number

of protons that are in its nucleus

you've already seen one way that one

element can turn into another and that's

a radioactive decay where you have

something like alpha decay or beta decay

or positron decay that changes the

number of protons and neutrons and

nikolay's but decay processes just

happen by themselves in nature and in

the lab scientists are able to make this

change happen by taking an atom and

slamming these protons and neutrons in

so we can define nuclear transformation

mutational changing an atom into a

different element by slamming protons

and neutrons into it so that's what

we're going to talk about in this video

we're going to talk about nuclear

transformation well we're going to talk

about how to write equations for it and

then we're going to see how nuclear

transmutation can be used in the lab to

make elements that we can't find in

nature these are called transuranium

elements and all of them have atomic

numbers above 92 so let's get started

and look at a diagram of what nuclear

transmutation would look like if we

could like zoo

in to an atom and be able to see all the

protons and neutrons that make it up as

well as the electrons so okay so here is

an atom of nitrogen 14 okay and over

here I have an alpha particle which is

made of two protons and two neutrons

little red dots here represent protons

the blue dots represent neutrons so if

we want to do some nuclear

transformations nuclear transmutation we

take this alpha particle in like BAM we

slam it into the nucleus of this atom

and if we were lucky it would stick and

the protons and neutrons that are in

this alpha particle would end up stuck

in here in the nucleus okay

so I want to write this as an actual

nuclear equation instead of just reading

it out instead of just using the diagram

so here's what I do

ed write it as 4 - alpha plus 14 7

nitrogen ok

that's no big deal but now let's look at

what we get out of this when you do

nuclear transformation reaction you

usually end up with a new element and

then you get a little bit of change by

change I mean like a couple protons or a

couple of neutrons extra get kicked out

in the end

so when we do this reaction here's what

we end up get we get a new atom and it's

an atom of oxygen 17 here ok

when I'm doing a nuclear transformation

reaction like this I don't make any new

neutrons I don't make any new protons

which means that the number of neutrons

and protons I have on one side of the

equation is going to balance the number

of neutrons and protons that I have on

the other side of the equation so when

I'm writing these I find that helps to

keep track of the numbers that I have of

both okay

so I'll do the number of neutrons and

protons together is the mass number

as if you remember as I'm writing these

isotope notation symbols the number that

I have up here is a mass number which is

a number of protons and neutrons so

there are four protons and neutrons

together in the alpha particle and there

are 14 protons and neutrons together in

the sound of of nitrogen so that means

that all together I have 19 neutrons and

protons here how many protons do I have

well I have two in the alpha particle

and then I have seven of the nitrogen so

that means a total I'm going to have

nine the same is going to be true over

on this side of the quiz nine neutrons

or protons I mean 18 neutrons and

protons and nine protons so I get this

new atom of oxygen and I said that I

usually get a little bit of change when

I do this kind of equation what's the

change that I get here well I need to

since there nine protons on this side of

the equation there need to be nine

protons on this side of the equation as

well but in oxygen I only have eight

protons so that means that I have to

have an additional proton on this side

of the equation you can write that in

like this this is the symbol for proton

you get a P and then there's one because

it has one proton and the protons plus

neutrons equals one as well now these

guys add up and these guys are so what

happens here is that I get the alpha

particle slamming into the nitrogen and

that then gives me these two things I

get an atom of oxygen and I get that

because I increase the number of protons

but only one of the protons stays in

this new atom and the other one comes

shooting out so I've got it here so you

have two separate things I get a new

atom of oxygen and then I get this

additional extra proton which I write

right here this is what I keep referring

to as like the changed a little bit of

extra that I get out and I can figure

out what it is by seeing how the number

of protons and neutrons are going to add

up on

sighs the equation let's do another

example okay in this example I'm going

to start with an atom of aluminum 27 and

as before I'm going to take an alpha

particle two protons and two neutrons

and slam that alpha particle into this

aluminum you know there's a fancy word

for slamming and it's a good word to

know it's called bombard and so a lot of

times when we're talking about slamming

alpha particles or protons and neutrons

into an element I'll use a term bombard

you'll find out in you know textbooks

and stuff like that because it sounds a

little bit smarter it sounds a little

bit more technical than having to say

slam or smash so bombard you might also

notice like daily life people say

bombard a lot well maybe not a lot but

like you know you can find it used in

daily life bombard technically means

like to bomb something right to like

throw bombs at it but often people say

that they got you know bombarded by

questions they got bombarded by people

asking for their autographs so it's like

when you have all sorts of things coming

at you is what it is is what bombard

means so anyway so we take this atom of

aluminum and we bombard it with the

alpha particles so here's the kind of

question that you might get like on a

test or in some practice problems or

something we get some new element and

then as change the thing that we also

end up getting is one Neutron so my

question to you is what's this element

what's this other element that we're

going to end up getting how do we figure

it out what I like to do is I like to do

add up the protons and neutrons on one

side the protons and neutrons on the

other okay so let me have the mass

numbers the total neutrons and protons

together 27 plus 4 is going to be 31 and

then the total protons are going to be

15 that's what I have on this side and

it has to be the same on this side okay

so we know that we get 1

on out of this equation how many protons

do we have to have well we want to have

15 protons on this side of the equation

since there are no protons in the the

neutron here that means that all of the

protons need to be in whatever else I

get after this transformation we mention

how many neutrons

well the neutrons and protons have to

add up to 31 because 27 plus 4 is 31

I've got one over here

which means that if I have 30 neutrons

and protons in this mystery element here

that 30 plus the one over here in the

neutron is going to add up to 31 okay so

these are the numbers these add up these

add up they equal each other on both

sides and now I've got to do is figure

out what letter right here I do that by

looking at 15 which is the atomic number

so I go to the periodic table and I find

out which of my elements has in Tomic

number 15 turns out its phosphorus here

so put a big P and what I've written is

the equation for bombarding aluminum

with alpha particles it gives me a new

atom of phosphorus it changed the

aluminum into phosphorus and then I've

also got a neutron spinning out as well

so here's the equation for that outfit

for this alpha bombardment now you know

it's not always alpha particles that we

slam into things and in fact alpha

particles are kind of hard to slam into

atoms because alpha particles have those

two protons which means that they have a

positive charge of plus two the neutrons

do no they don't have any charge so they

don't contribute in that way but so we

got this nucleus of an atom it has a

bunch of protons in it so it's

positively charged and then we have this

alpha particle with two positively

charged protons coming at it and so it

is actually a difficult thing to do

because they both have positive charge

and what do you know about positive

charges or light charges like charges

want to

all right so in order to slam a

positively charged alpha particle into a

positively charged nucleus of an atom

you really gotta speed up that alpha

particle you got to get it going super

fast like almost close to the speed of

light sometimes in order to be able to

slam it into that atom so we'll step

it's a lot easier actually to take

neutrons and slam those into the nucleus

and atom you know I should start using a

smart word it's a lot easier to bombard

a nucleus with neutrons and why is that

it's because neutrons don't have a

positive charge so they're not going to

be repelled by the nucleus it's like no

big deal you know they can go and just

smash into it so we have to use these

really complex machines called particle

accelerators in order to speed up on in

order to speed up things like alpha

particles fast enough they can slam into

a nucleus but it's not as hard to slam a

neutron okay so that's an important

thing remember I now want to write a

decay equation for another type of

nuclear transformation here's how it

goes I start out with an atom of lithium

six and I oh I meant to do this and I

add some mystery thing to it here and

what I end up getting out is hydrogen

three as well as an alpha particle

sometimes alpha particles can come out

they don't necessarily have to go in so

what is the mystery thing that I added

to the lithium let's add up the protons

and neutrons on both sides of the

equation neutrons and protons on this

side I have three plus four so I got

seven and my protons add up to three we

want it to be the same on this side

so I have already have my three protons

in the lithium got three protons on this

side so whatever I'm adding it's not

going to have any protons in it because

I already have three here I want to have

six protons and neutrons

and the side of the equation but I only

have six protons and neutrons together

in lithium so what I'm going to want to

add is one Neutron and no protons and so

the symbol for Neutron is one zero with

an N here this is an example of Neutron

bombardment right as I said we don't

always have to bombard things with alpha

particles we can use neutrons we can use

variety we can use more than one Neutron

and so forth so that's this equation for

up for Neutron bombardment here