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					       GCSE Additional Science Unit P2
       Topic 11 — Putting Radiation to Use

        Smoke alarms assessment:

       Should radioactive sources
       be used in our homes?

       As a radiation specialist, you have been asked to write a short report giving your
       opinion on whether or not smoke alarms should be fitted in all homes even though they
       contain americium, a radioactive source.

       Using a radioactive source in this way is an ‘application of science’.

       Your report should include:

           1. A brief description of how an ionizing smoke detector works.
           2. A reason for using smoke detectors in homes.
           3. An explanation of how radioactive sources can be harmful and why some people
              would be against their use.
           4. A scientific discussion of any evidence (facts, graphs and data) you have found
              on radioactive sources and smoke detectors.
           5. Your conclusion based on the evidence – should radioactive sources be used in
              our homes?

                        Use the mark grid provided to help you achieve the highest mark
                         possible.

                        Here is a list of keywords, resources and information to help you
                         build evidence to support your conclusion

Keywords:       alpha particle             beta particle          gamma ray nucleus          atom

radioactivity            mutation          proton back     ground radiation     radon gas    half-life

ionising radiation               isotope      electron


       A sample of the material from a smoke alarm was placed 2cm from the radiation
       detector and 250 counts in one minute were recorded. The table below shows how the
       amount of radiation activity (in counts per minute) is expected to decrease over 1000
       years

       Time    0          100     200       300     400     500    600    700    800   900    1000
       (years)
       Counts 250         212     191       155     133     113    98     84     72    63     56
       per
       minute
GCSE Additional Science Unit P2
Topic 11 — Putting Radiation to Use

These are the learning outcomes that should be addressed in your
coursework (tick them off as you cover them in your report)




Resource s (data can be found in textbooks, on the internet or you can do
an experiment yourself – Make sure you reference it!!)

http://www.llrc.org/

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/wales/south_east/3098096.stm

http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/england/cambridgeshire/3093424.stm

http://smokealarm.n ist.gov/Series1.htm

http://www.uic.com.au/nip35.htm

http://www.diconsafety.co.uk/downloads/2502_a0040.pdf

http://www.epa.gov/radiation/radionuclides/americium.html

http://www.nukeworker.com/study/radiation_faqs/rf07-Radiation-n-life.shtml

http://www.hpa.org.uk/webw/HPAweb&HPAwebStandard/HPAweb_C/1195733789856?
p=1158934607693

				
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Lingjuan Ma Lingjuan Ma
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