Physics Word Problem

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A uranium nucleus 238U may stay in one piece for billions of years, but sooner or
later it decays into an α particle of mass6.64 × 10^ −27 kg and 234Th nucleus of mass
3.88 × 10^−25 kg, and the decay process itself is extremely fast (it takes about 10−20 s).Suppose the uranium nucleus was at rest justbefore the decay.If the α particle is emitted at a speed of 2.94×107 m/s ,what would be the recoil speed of the thorium nucleus?

Oct 21st, 2017

Thank you for the opportunity to help you with your question!

Momentum before decay = momentum after decay                 ( law of conservation of momentum)

Mb  =Ma

but Mb=0


0=(3.88 * 10^-25)*v(r) +  (6.64 *10^-27)*2.94*10^7

recoil velocity of thorium nucleus v(r) = -(6.64 *10^-27)*2*94*10^7/(3.88 * 10^-25)

                                                             =-5.03  * 10^5   m/s

Please let me know if you need any clarification. I'm always happy to answer your questions.
Jun 30th, 2015

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