What kind of radioactive decay does not cause transmutation?

1 Answer
May 17, 2018

Gamma radiation does not cause transmutations.


A transmutation is the conversion of an atom of one element to an atom of another. This generally occurs through nuclear reacting.

There are three main types of radiation: alpha, beta, and gamma. Both beta and alpha decay cause changes to the mass and atomic numbers. This results in a transmutation. Gamma radiation, however, does not.

Gamma radiation is the result of a gamma ray. In essence, the nucleus emits a high-energ proton. This is very penetrating and can only be stopped by aluminum, lead, soil, water, and concrete. This type of radiation does not change the element and, therefore, does not cause a transmutation.