Alpha Decay

Alpha Decay

Alpha Decay is a computer model simulation that illustrates alpha decay
5.0  (1 vote)
3.24 (See all)

Alpha Decay is a computer model simulation that illustrates alpha decay. There are two different simulations included in this application. Both illustrate the same principle.
The first one is labeled "Multiple Atoms" and, as the name suggests, it places several atoms on the screen for you to observe the process of alpha decay. Without getting too much into the physics behind it, alpha decay is a process by which a nucleus forms or eliminates an alpha particle (helium-4). In this application, you see how a cluster of neutrons and protons leave nuclei of Polonium 211 at random moments. The developers of this simulation wanted you to see exactly that. It seems that the alpha decay of elements is random and doesn't respond to the concept of half life.

The second tab shows the same process, but from a single-atom perspective. In both cases, you can use the default Polonium-211 nucleus or add a custom nucleus. You can't input the name of an element, you rather increase or decrease the half life of the element or its energy and potential energy. The application does a good job of keeping up and showing the time that goes by between the start and the decay. The single atom mode even allows you to track an element's decay over a millennial time scale; pretty neat. But it seems to be all random.

José Fernández
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Review summary


  • Built using Java.
  • No installation required.
  • Illustrative and good for learning


  • None
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