# How do you write nuclear equations for beta decay?

##### 1 Answer

There are two types of beta decay: beta-minus decay; and beta-plus decay. They both occur to establish a more stable neutron:proton ratio.

Beta-minus decay converts a neutron into a proton, and a high speed electron is emitted (along with an anti-neutrino). The result is that the atomic number increases by one, but there is no change in atomic mass. Therefore, this beta particle is given a mass number of zero (0) and an atomic number of -1.

Sorry, with the formatting in this, it is hard to type these up. The first (larger) number is the mass number, the second number is the atomic number.

Beta-plus decay converts a proton into a neutron, and a positron is emitted (along with a neutrino). The result is that the atomic number decreases by one, but there is no change in atomic mass. Therefore, this beta particle is given a mass of zero (0) and an atomic number of +1.