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IB DP Physics Questions

12.2 Nuclear Physics

Question 1

Which of the following particles is emitted during alpha decay?

A. Electron

B. Positron

C. Helium nucleus

D. Photon

Question 2

Which type of radioactive decay results in no change in the atomic number of the nucleus?

A. Alpha decay

B. Beta-minus decay

C. Gamma decay

D. Beta-plus decay

Question 3

For a given element, if the neutron-to-proton ratio is too high, which type of decay is it most likely to undergo?

A. Alpha decay

B. Beta-minus decay

C. Gamma decay

D. Beta-plus decay

Question 4

Which of the following is NOT a method used to confine plasma in nuclear fusion reactors?

A. Magnetic confinement

B. Inertial confinement

C. Gravitational confinement

D. Thermal confinement

Question 5

In nuclear fission, what is the primary factor that determines whether a chain reaction will be sustained?

A. Temperature of the reactor

B. Presence of control rods

C. Amount of fissile material present

D. Neutron absorption by the surrounding medium

Question 6

a) Define the term "radioactive decay" and explain why certain nuclei are unstable. [2]

b) Uranium-238 undergoes alpha decay to form Thorium-234. Write down the nuclear equation for this decay process. [2]

Question 7

a) Describe the difference between beta-minus and beta-plus decay. [2]

b) Carbon-14 undergoes beta-minus decay. What is the resulting daughter nucleus? [2]

Question 8

a) What is the significance of the neutron-proton ratio in determining the stability of a nucleus? [2]

b) Explain the concept of "binding energy" in the context of nuclear physics. [2]

Question 9

a) Describe the process of gamma decay and explain how it differs from alpha and beta decays. [3]

b) Why is gamma radiation often accompanied by other types of radioactive decay? [2]

c) Which type of radiation - alpha, beta, or gamma - has the greatest penetration ability? [2]

Question 10

a) What is meant by the term "work function" in the context of the photoelectric effect? [3]

b) How does the frequency of incident light affect the kinetic energy of emitted electrons? [2]

c) If the work function of a metal is 2 eV, what is the minimum frequency of light required to induce the photoelectric effect? [3]

Question 11

Which of the following particles has the greatest penetrating ability?

A. Alpha particles

B. Beta particles

C. Gamma rays

D. Neutrons

Question 12

What is the primary reason for the release of energy during nuclear fusion?

A. Conversion of mass into energy

B. Release of photons

C. Electron capture

D. Neutron emission

Question 13

Which of the following is a characteristic of a stable nucleus?

A. High neutron-to-proton ratio

B. Presence of magic numbers of nucleons

C. Emission of alpha particles

D. Continuous gamma radiation

Question 14

In a nuclear reactor, what is the primary purpose of control rods?

A. Generate heat

B. Absorb neutrons

C. Emit gamma rays

D. Produce electricity

Question 15

Which of the following processes is responsible for the energy produced by the Sun?

A. Nuclear fission

B. Beta decay

C. Nuclear fusion

D. Alpha decay

Question 16

a) Define "chain reactions" in the context of nuclear fission. [3]

b) Why is the concept of "critical mass" important in fission reactions? [2]

c) Describe the primary difference between controlled and uncontrolled chain reactions. [2]

Question 17

a) Explain the process of nuclear fusion and its significance in stars. [3]

b) Why are extremely high temperatures required for fusion reactions to occur? [2]

c) Describe the challenges faced in achieving controlled fusion reactions on Earth. [3]

Question 18

a) Describe the process of alpha decay and identify the particles involved. [3]

b) A certain radioactive element undergoes alpha decay. If the original nucleus had 92 protons and 146 neutrons, determine the number of protons and neutrons in the resulting nucleus. [3]

c) How does the energy released during alpha decay relate to the stability of the nucleus? [3]

d) Why are alpha particles relatively less penetrating compared to beta and gamma particles? [2]

Question 19

a) Explain the concept of "half-life" in the context of radioactive decay. [3]

b) If a sample of a radioactive substance has a half-life of 5 years, how much of the original sample remains after 20 years? [3]

c) How does the half-life of a radioactive substance relate to its stability? [3]

d) Why is knowledge of half-life important in fields like archaeology and medicine? [3]

Question 20

a) Describe the process of beta-minus decay and the particles involved. [3]

b) How does beta-minus decay affect the number of protons and neutrons in a nucleus? [3]

c) Why is the conservation of energy important in understanding the products of beta-minus decay? [3]

d) In certain materials, beta-minus decay can lead to the emission of detectable light. How is this property utilised in practical applications? [3]

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