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Does radioactive decay cause an element to change to another element? Okay let's use Uranium as an example of alpha radiation. What characterizes alpha radiation is the emission of helium nuclei from the element. A helium nucleus contains 2 protons and 2 neutrons. This means the atom is spitting out protons, so does that mean the element changes due to the proton loss. After all that is what makes an element unique-- its proton count. So my question is...would the Uranium atom change into a different element?

Thanks.

 

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Alpha and beta decay involve a change in the number of protons, so you will have a new element.

 

Neutron or gamma emission do not. In the case of neutron emission, you will change isotopes. (Both of these involve starting from an excited state)

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Does radioactive decay cause an element to change to another element? Okay let's use Uranium as an example of alpha radiation. What characterizes alpha radiation is the emission of helium nuclei from the element. A helium nucleus contains 2 protons and 2 neutrons. This means the atom is spitting out protons, so does that mean the element changes due to the proton loss. After all that is what makes an element unique-- its proton count. So my question is...would the Uranium atom change into a different element?

Thanks.

 

 

Yes, of course.

Uranium after emitting Alpha particle will become Thorium element.

You can see to what element will decay and probabilities on right side of the all elements websites

f.e.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Uranium

(scroll to ~30%)

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