The Beta Decay of H3 in Physics

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H3 in physics refers to an isotope of hydrogen called tridium. Find out about the beta decay of H3 in physics with help from an applied physics professional in this free video clip.

Part of the Video Series: Such Great Physics
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Video Transcript

Hello, my name is Walter Unglaub, and this is "the beta decay of H3 in physics." H3, denoted by the letter H, and a three here, and a one here, refers to an isotope of hydrogen, called tridium. The nucleus of tridium is known as a triton, and it is unstable, meaning that after some time has passed, it will decay into another element, and another particle. The beta decay of tridium corresponds to one of three types of possible radioactive decays, in which we start out with a triton that is comprised of three nucleons, namely, one proton and two neutrons. And, it will spontaneously decay into a helium nucleus, which has four nucleons, two of them being protons. So, you have two neutrons and two protons, and a beta particle, in this case, an electron. Notice that the tridium has the total charge of plus E. The helium has two E, positive charge, because of the two protons, and the electron has a charge of negative E because it is a single, negatively charged particle. Thus, we see that the total charge is just positive E, so we have charge conservation in this radioactive reaction. My name is Walter Unglaub, and this is "the beta decay of H3 in physics."


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