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AQA GCSE Additional Science

Radiation Questions

Name: ..
Date:

Checklist
I can:
Yes
Evaluate the effect of occupation and/or location on the
level of background radiation and radiation dose
Evaluate the possible hazards associated with the use of
different types of nuclear radiation
Evaluate measures that can be taken to reduce exposure
to nuclear radiations
Evaluate the appropriateness of radioactive sources for
particular uses, including as tracers, in terms of the
type(s) of radiation emitted and their half-lives
Explain how results from the Rutherford and Marsden
scattering experiments led to the plum pudding model
being replaced by the nuclear model.
Compare the uses of nuclear fusion and nuclear fission

Sort of

No

Q1. Four different processes are described in List A. The names of these processes are given
in List B.
Draw a line to link each description in List A to its correct name in List B.
Draw only four lines.

List A

List B

ionisation

the nucleus of an
atom splitting into
several pieces

gamma emission

nuclear fission

an atom losing an
electron

nuclear fusion

an electric charge
moving through a
metal

electric current

the nuclei of two


atoms joining
together

(Total 4 marks)

Q2. In the early part of the 20th century, scientists used the plum pudding model to explain the
structure of the atom.

Following work by Rutherford and Marsden, a new model of the atom, called the nuclear model,
was suggested.

(a) Describe the differences between the two models of the atom.
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(4)

(b) In their investigation, Rutherford and Marsden fired positively charged alpha particles at a
very thin sheet of gold. Over a period of several months, the scientists made over 100 000
measurements. These measurements showed that:
a very small number of alpha particles were deflected backwards from the gold foil.
Use the nuclear model to explain this experimental result.
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(2)

(c) Why did the work of Rutherford and Marsden convince many scientists that the plum
pudding model of the atom was incorrect?
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(2)
(Total 8 marks)



Q3. The diagram shows a helium atom.


(a) (i) Use the words in the box to label the diagram.

electron neutron proton
(2)

(ii) An alpha particle is the same as the nucleus of a helium atom.


How is an alpha particle different from a helium atom?
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(b) The graph shows how the count rate from a sample of radioactive sodium-24 changes
with time.

(i) How many hours does it take for the count rate to fall from 100 counts per second to
50 counts per second?
Time = .............................. hours
(1)

(ii) What is the half-life of sodium-24?


Half-life = .............................. hours
(1)

(c) A smoke detector contains a small amount of americium-241.


Americium-241 is a radioactive substance which emits alpha particles. It has a half-life of
432 years.
(i) Which one of the following statements gives a reason why the americium-241 inside
the smoke detector will not need replacing?
Put a tick ( ) in the box next to your answer.
The alpha particles have a low energy.
People replace smoke detectors every few years.
Americium-241 has a long half-life.
(1)

(ii) The diagram shows the label on the back of the smoke detector.


Why do people need to know that the smoke detector contains a radioactive
material?
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)
(Total 7 marks)



Q4. Four different processes are described in List A. The names of these processes are given
in List B.
Draw a line to link each description in List A to its correct name in List B.
Draw only four lines.

(Total 4 marks)

Q5. (a) The pie chart shows the average proportions of natural background radiation from
various sources in one part of the UK.

(i) What proportion of the background radiation comes from radon gas?
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii) Suggest why our bodies are slightly radioactive.


...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(b) The level of background radiation from cosmic rays is not the same everywhere. For
every 30 metres above sea level, the amount of background radiation increases by one
unit.
The diagram shows the position of two villages, A and B, built on a hill.

How is the amount of background radiation from cosmic rays different in village A
compared to village B?
To obtain full marks you must include a calculation in your answer.
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(3)
(Total 5 marks)

Q6. (a) Complete the following table for an atom of uranium-238 (

U)


mass number

238

number of protons

92

number of neutrons


(1)

(b) Complete the following sentence.


The name given to the number of protons in an atom is the proton number or the
............................................................ .
(1)

(c) An atom of uranium-238 (

U) decays to form an atom of thorium-234 (

Th).

(i) What type of radiation, alpha, beta or gamma, is emitted by uranium-238?


...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii) Why does an atom that decays by emitting alpha or beta radiation become an atom
of a different element?
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...........................................................................................................................
(1)
(Total 4 marks)



Q7. (a) Complete the sentences about atoms.
In an atom, the number of electrons is equal to the number of ................................. .
All atoms of an element have the same number of ................................................... .
Isotopes of the same element have different numbers of .......................................... .
(3)

(b) Complete the sentence.


When an atom of a radioactive element emits alpha radiation, an atom of a different
element is formed. A different element is formed because the radioactive element has lost
............................................... .
(1)
(Total 4 marks)

Q8. The graph shows how the amount of radiation emitted by a sample of the radionuclide
uranium 238 (U238) changes as time passes.

(a) What is the half-life of uranium 238 (U238)?


(You should show how you obtained your answer. You may do this on the graph
if you wish.)
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Answer .....................................
(3)

(b) What fraction (or percentage) of the uranium 238 (U238) atoms will have decayed after
9 billion years?
.....................................................................................................................................
(1)

(c) Uranium 238 (U238) decays through a long series of intermediate radionuclides to stable
atoms of the isotope lead 206 (Pb).
A sample of igneous rock contains 3 atoms of uranium 238 (U238) for every atom of lead
206 (Pb206).
(i) The intermediate radionuclides are not important when estimating the age of the
rock. Explain why.
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii) Estimate the age of the rock.


(You should explain how you obtained your answer.)
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Answer ................................... billion years
(3)
(Total 8 marks)



Q9. (a) When an atom of thorium-232 decays, an alpha () particle is emitted from the
nucleus. An atom of radium is left behind.
An alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons.
We can represent this radioactive decay in a special kind of equation:

Thorium-228 is also radioactive.


Atoms of this isotope also decay by emitting an alpha particle and producing an isotope of
radium.
Complete the equation for this decay.


(4)

(b) An atom of radium-228 decays by emitting a beta () particle from the nucleus.
A beta particle is in fact an electron (symbol

).

The effect of this is to change a neutron into a proton.


An atom of actinium remains.
This type of decay can also be represented by an equation:

This isotope of actinium is radioactive.

An atom of actinium-228 also decays by emitting a beta particle.


An isotope of thorium is left behind.
Complete the equation for this decay.


(4)

(c) Thorium-232 eventually decays to the stable isotope lead-208.


All the steps in this process can be shown on a diagram.

(i) Complete the sentences:


During the decay from (A) to (B) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (B) to (C) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (E) to (F) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (I) to (J) a .................... particle is emitted.
(2)

(ii) The table shows how long it takes for half of the atoms of each isotope to decay.

A rock sample contains:


many atoms of thorium-232
even more atoms of lead-208
hardly any atoms of any of the other isotopes shown on the diagram
Explain this as fully as you can.
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(3)
(Total 13 marks)

Q10. (a) When an atom of thorium-232 decays, an alpha () particle is emitted from the
nucleus. An atom of radium is left behind.
An alpha particle consists of two protons and two neutrons.
We can represent this radioactive decay in a special kind of equation:

Thorium-228 is also radioactive.


Atoms of this isotope also decay by emitting an alpha particle and producing an isotope of
radium.
Complete the equation for this decay.


(4)

(b) An atom of radium-228 decays by emitting a beta () particle from the nucleus.
A beta particle is in fact an electron (symbol

).

The effect of this is to change a neutron into a proton.


An atom of actinium remains.
This type of decay can also be represented by an equation:

This isotope of actinium is radioactive.


An atom of actinium-228 also decays by emitting a beta particle.
An isotope of thorium is left behind.
Complete the equation for this decay.


(4)

(c) Thorium-232 eventually decays to the stable isotope lead-208.


All the steps in this process can be shown on a diagram.

(i) Complete the sentences:


During the decay from (A) to (B) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (B) to (C) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (E) to (F) a .................... particle is emitted.
During the decay from (I) to (J) a .................... particle is emitted.
(2)

(ii) The table shows how long it takes for half of the atoms of each isotope to decay.

A rock sample contains:


many atoms of thorium-232
even more atoms of lead-208
hardly any atoms of any of the other isotopes shown on the diagram
Explain this as fully as you can.
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...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(3)
(Total 13 marks)

Q11. Neptunium-237 (237Np) is a radioactive element. The graph shows the numbers of neutrons
and protons in the nuclei of the elements formed when 237Np decays.

(a) Use the periodic table on the Data Sheet to identify element X.
.....................................................................................................................................
(1)

(b) Why are 233Pa and 233U considered to be different elements?


.....................................................................................................................................
.....................................................................................................................................
(1)

(c) What type of radiation is released when 237Np decays to form 233Pa?
.....................................................................................................................................
(1)

(d) What change takes place in the nucleus when 233Pa changes into 233U?
.....................................................................................................................................
(1)
(Total 4 marks)

Q12. The diagram shows how the thickness of aluminium foil is controlled. The thicker the
aluminium foil, the more radiation it absorbs.

(a) The designers used a beta radiation source for this control system.
(i) Why would an alpha radiation source be unsuitable in this control system?
...........................................................................................................................
...........................................................................................................................
(1)

(ii) Why would a gamma radiation source be unsuitable in this control system?
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(1)

(b) The substance used in the beta radiation source is radioactive.


(i) Why are some atoms radioactive?
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(1)

(ii) Explain why radiation is dangerous to humans.


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(2)
(Total 5 marks)

M1.

[4]



M2. (a) any two pairs from:
nuclear model mass is concentrated at the centre / nucleus (1)
plum pudding model mass is evenly distributed (1)
accept the nuclear model has a nucleus/the plum pudding model
does not have a nucleus for 1 mark
nuclear model positive charge occupies only a small part of the atom (1)
plum pudding model positive charge spread throughout the atom (1)
accept electrons in shells/ orbits provided a valid comparison is
made with the plum pudding model
do not accept on its own
do not accept electrons at edge of plum pudding
nuclear model electrons orbit some distance from the centre / nucleus (1)
plum pudding electrons embedded in the (mass) of positive (charge) (1)
nuclear model the atom mainly empty space (1)
plum pudding model is a solid mass (1)
to gain credit it must be clear which model is being described
do not accept simple descriptions on the diagram without
comparison
4

(b) nucleus must be positive to deflect/ repel alpha particles


answers in terms of electrons/negative charge causing deflection
negates mark answers in terms of reflection negates mark
1

nucleus (very) small so few alpha particles deflected backwards


accept most of atom empty space so most pass through
1

(c) many/ 100 000 measurements taken


accept results for measurements accept data valid / reliable
1

findings could not be explained by plum pudding model


accept a specific finding that could not be explained
eg some alpha particles were deflected backwards
1

[8]



M3. (a) (i)


all 3 labels correct
allow 1 mark for 1 correct label
2

(ii) has no electrons


it = alpha
allow alpha has a positive(charge)
allow a helium (atom) has no (charge)
do not accept general properties of alpha
do not accept general answers in terms of size / density / mass
etc
1

(b) (i) 15 (hours)


accept any answer between 14.8 and 15.2 inclusive
1

(ii) 15 (hours) or their (b) (i)


1

(c) (i) americium-241 has a long half life


1

(ii) any one from:


alpha (particles) are harmful to
accept radiation / radioactive material is harmful to
accept specific example of harm
eg can cause cancer
accept radiation is poisonous if ingested / inhaled
do not accept it is poisonous / in case of leakage
so they dispose of it safely / appropriately
so they dont break it open / open it
accept do not touch the radioactive source
so they can make a choice about having a radioactive source (in the house)
it = radioactive material
1

[7]



M4. four lines correct
allow 1 mark for each correct line
if more than 1 line is drawn from a box in List A, mark each line
incorrect

[4]

M5. (a) (i) half / / 50%


accept 1 (part) in 2 (parts) 1
1

(ii) (the) food (we eat) is radioactive


accept because of the food (we eat)
accept we breathe in radon
radon in the air is neutral
1

(b) higher in village B


1

by 6 units
allow 1 mark for correctly obtaining a height
difference of 180(m)/ 4 times higher this refers
to height and not radiation levels
accept for 3 marks in village A it is 2 units (extra)
and in village be it is 8 units (extra)
allow 1 mark for a correct radiation calculation based on incorrect
height readings
2

[5]



M6. (a) 146
1

(b) atomic number


1

(c) (i) alpha


1

(ii) number of protons changes


accept atomic number changes
accept loses or gains protons
do not accept protons with any other particle e.g. number of
protons and neutrons changes incorrect
do not accept any reference to mass number
1

[4]

M7. (a) protons


1

protons
accept electrons
1

neutrons
1

(b) protons
reject mass
1

[4]



M8. (a) indication (in writing or on graph) of finding point where radiation
is halved (e.g. to 24 [from an initial 48]) and relating to the time
difference between the two points
gains 1 mark
but
4.2-4.8*
(*i.e. in this range, including extremes)
gains 2 marks
units billions of years
for 1 mark
3

(b) or 75%
[allow ecf from (a)]
for 1 mark
1

(c) (i) idea that the intermediate nuclides are relatively short-lived
for 1 mark
1

(ii) idea that has decayed or remains


gains 1 mark
but
read graph for radiation level of 36 (stated or shown on graph itself)
gains 2 marks
but
1.6-1.8* (billion years)
(* i.e. in this range, including extremes)
gains 3 marks
3

[8]

##
(a)

[Accept He2+ for ]


each

for 1 mark
4

(b)

[Accept for e]
each

for 1 mark
4

(c) (i) beta/ alpha/


alpha/ beta/
beta/ but alpha/
alpha/ beta/
[i.e. consistent for 1; consistent and correct for 2]
gains 2 marks
2

(ii) ideas that


many thorium atoms because they take so long to decay*
(many lead atoms because) the thorium has been decaying for
so long/for billions of years
or (because) the rock is so/very/billions of years of years old
many lead atoms because this is the stable end product [of the decay series]
few atoms of other isotopes because they decay so quickly*
[*N.B. credit answers in terms of half-life]
any three for 1 mark each
3

[13]

##
(a)

[Accept He2+ for ]


each

for 1 mark
4

(b)

[Accept for e]
each

for 1 mark
4

(c) (i) beta/ alpha/


alpha/ beta/
beta/ but alpha/
alpha/ beta/
[i.e. consistent for 1; consistent and correct for 2]
gains 2 marks
2

(ii) ideas that


many thorium atoms because they take so long to decay*
(many lead atoms because) the thorium has been decaying for
so long/for billions of years
or (because) the rock is so/very/billions of years of years old
many lead atoms because this is the stable end product [of the decay series]
few atoms of other isotopes because they decay so quickly*
[*N.B. credit answers in terms of half-life]
any three for 1 mark each
3

[13]



M11. (a) radium
accept Ra
1

(b) different numbers of protons


accept one has 91 protons, one has 92
or Pa has 91 protons, U has 92
do not credit they have different atomic numbers
reject different numbers of protons and neutrons
1

(c) alpha
1

(d) neutron changes into proton


accept electron lost / beta radiation
accept singular or plural answers
1

[4]

M12. (a) (i) cannot penetrate aluminium


allow can only pass through air / paper too weak is neutral
1

(ii) gamma rays not affected (by aluminium)


allow all / most (gamma rays) to pass through
too strong is neutral
danger is neutral
1

(b) (i) (nuclei) unstable


1

(ii) causes harm / damage to body / cells


allow radiation sickness
1

detail e.g., causes mutations / causes cancer / damages DNA /


damages chromosomes
allow two effects for 2 marks
1

[5]