reading this section you will be able to do the following:
- List and
describe uses of radioactivity/radiation.
There are many practical applications
to the use of radioactivity/radiation. Radioactive sources are
used to study living organisms, to diagnose and treat diseases,
to sterilize medical instruments and food, to produce energy for
heat and electric power, and to monitor various steps in all types
of industrial processes.
Tracers are a common application
of radioisotopes. A tracer is a radioactive element whose pathway
through which a chemical reaction can be followed. Tracers are
commonly used in the medical field and in the study of plants
and animals. Radioactive Iodine-131 can be used to study the function
of the thyroid gland assisting in detecting disease.
Nuclear reactors are devices
that control fission reactions producing new substances from the
fission product and energy. Recall our discussion earlier about
the fission process in the making of a radioisotope. Nuclear power
stations use uranium in fission reactions as a fuel to produce
energy. Steam is generated by the heat released during the fission
process. It is this steam that turns a turbine to produce electric
uses of radioactivity
Sterilization of medical
instruments and food is another common application of radiation.
By subjecting the instruments and food to concentrated beams of
radiation, we can kill microorganisms that cause contamination
and disease. Because this is done with high energy radiation sources
using electromagnetic energy, there is no fear of residual radiation.
Also, the instruments and food may be handled without fear of
Radiation sources are extremely important to the manufacturing
industries throughout the world. They are commonly employed by
nondestructive testing personnel to monitor materials and processes
in the making of the products we see and use every day. Trained
technicians use radiography to image materials and products much
like a dentist uses radiation to x-ray your teeth for cavities.
There are many industrial applications that rely on radioactivity
to assist in determining if the material or product is internally
sound and fit for its application.
tracers are commonly used in the medical field and also in the
study of plants and animals.
is used and produced in nuclear reactors, which controls fission
reactions to produce energy and new substances from the fission
is also used to sterilize medical instruments and food.
is used by test personnel who monitor materials and processes by nondestructive methods such as x-rays.