Examstyle Questions: Radioactive Decay Equations

a) Define the bequerel.
(1 mark)
b) Write down an equation that relates the activity (A) of a source to the number of atoms it contains (N). Identify any new symbols you introduce.
(1 mark)
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 1
a) 1 Bq = 1 decay per second
(1 mark)
b) A = lN l is the decay constant
(1 mark)
(Marks available: 2)

A sample of radioactive material contains 1 x 1018 atoms and its activity is measured as 9 x 1012 Bq. Calculate the decay constant for the sample.
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 2
Use A = lN
(1 mark)
l = 1 x 105 per second
(1 mark)
(Marks available: 2)

A piece of wood from an ancient spear has a mass of 1kg. An activity of 7.5 disintegrations per minute is recorded from it (assume due to be from the decay of the isotope carbon 14). A similar modern replica made from the same wood but with a mass of 2kg has an activity of 30 disintegrations per minute. If the halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 years calculate the age of the ancient spear.
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 3
5730 years

Cobalt 60 is used in many applications where gamma radiation is required. The halflife of cobalt 60 is 5.26 years. If a sample has an initial activity of 2 x 1015 Bq what will its activity be after 3 years?
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 4
1.35 x 1015 Bq

Living matter has an activity of 260 BqKg1 due to carbon 14. If a sample of wood from a burial site has an activity of 155 Bq Kg1 estimate the age of the site. Halflife of carbon 14 is 5730 years.
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 5
Around 4280 years

Geiger counter placed 20cm from a point source of gamma radiation registers a count rate of 6000s1. Calculate the count rate 1 metre away.
(Marks available: 2)
Answer outline and marking scheme for question: 6
1200 s1