Why Is Helium Present In Radioactive Materials?

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Why Is Helium Present In Radioactive Materials?

Helium is a chemical element which has an atomic number 2, atomic weight of 4.002 and is represented by He. This element is odorless, colorless, tasteless, inert monatomic gas, non-toxic and is the head of the noble gas group in the periodic table. Helium’s boiling and melting points are considered as the lowest among all the elements that exists as gas, except in various extreme conditions. It is the second most abundant element in the entire universe, 2nd to hydrogen and is 24% of our galaxy’s elemental mass.

Helium’s abundance is similar to our own Sun and to the planet Jupiter. It is due to the high binding energy of helium-4 and with respect to 3 other elements next to helium which include beryllium, lithium and boron. The binding energy of helium-4 is also responsible for its commonality as an inclusive product for radioactive decay and nuclear fusion.

On the planet Earth, the weight of the helium is due to its evaporation from dust clouds and gas from which the planet is being condensed with, although it is relatively rare. The presence of helium today is considered to be due to various natural radioactive decay from heavy radioactive materials, such as uranium and thorium. The alpha particles which are emitted by these radioactive decays and materials often consist of helium-4 nuclei. This helium from radioactive materials is trapped along with natural gases which are concentrated for up to 7% by volume. From there, it is being extracted commercially using low-temperature separation and processing it through fractional distillation.

This is the main reason why scientists tend to discover helium from various radioactive materials. It is due to this that helium was, in some way, treated as a toxic element, although this will not happen if the found helium was not from a radioactive material or decay.

Author: maureen

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