P2 Concept 2
The 3 types of ionising radiation
recall the three types of ionising radiation emitted by
• distinguish between alpha, beta and gamma radiation by
their properties – penetration & ionising ability
Can radiation be stopped?
Notes…A radiation is ionising if it has
enough energy remove electrons from
atoms, producing ions.
The ionising ability of the 3 types of radiation
can be seen using a spark counter. When atoms
in the air is ionised, sparks will jump across.
If ionisation happens to atoms in
individual cells, the ions produced can
damage DNA. This mutation can lead to
Watch carefully and note down your
Watch the demo and think about these questions:
• Which radiation is easily stopped?
• Which radiation is the most ionising?
Range in air
Check learning - Explain
Look at the information you have recorded.
1. Which radiation is most easily stopped?
2. Which radiation is most ionising?
3. Suggest how your answers might be related.
Americium-241 emits alpha particles. The fact that
it is radioactive would not help doctors detect that it
was in a patient’s body. Explain why.