How does radioactive decay work?
When a nucleus is unstable, it can release mass and energy in radioactive decay to become stable.
Radioactive decay is when the nucleus of an atom is unstable (has an imbalance of protons and neutrons) and so releases particles of various sorts to become stable.
Stable and unstable combinations of neutrons and protons are shown on the band of stability graph,
which graphs number of protons against number of neutrons and shows where the stable nuclei are. Anything outside of this band will decay, release mass and energy, to become stable and inside the band.
If a nucleus is simply too big, it can undergo
If it has too many neutrons, it undergoes