KentChemistry HOME


Custom Search

back to other Nuclear Links


Artificial Transmutation


New York State Regents- Artificial transmutation- 2 reactants    Natural Nuclear Transmutation -1 reactant


Artificial Nuclear Transformations

It is possible, under the right conditions, for us to transform one element into another.  This is done by "slamming" a particle into a nucleus, causing the nucleus to change and therefore the identity or the mass of the atom.  Alpha particles can be used to transform one nucleus into another.  Since the nucleus of the alpha particle is positive and the nucleus of the atom being bombarded is also positive, the particles will naturally repel each other.  In order to over come this repulsion, the reaction must be performed at very high speeds (speed of light).  These speeds are achieved using particle accelerators.

Examples of Artificial Nuclear Transformations

Nitrogen can be transformed into hydrogen by combining its nucleus with an alpha particle. An atom of hydrogen (proton) is produced as part of the transformation.

Aluminum-27 can be transformed into phosphorus-30 by combining its nucleus with an alpha particle.  A neutron is produced as part of the transformation.


Other small nuclei, such as Carbon-12 and nitrogen-15 can be used to bombard heavier nuclei.

Synthesis of Some of the Transuranium Elements

Uranium is the heaviest natural element.  In 1940, neptunium was produced by neutron bombardment of uranium-238.  The process initially give uranium-239, which decays to neptunium-239 by the production of a beta particle.

Neutron Bombardment neptunium (Z = 93)
americium (Z = 95)
Positive-ion Bombardment curium (Z = 96)
californium (Z = 98)     OR
rutherfordium (Z = 104)
dubnium (Z = 105)
seaborgium (Z = 106)

back to other Nuclear Links

Chemical Demonstration Videos