By W. J. Meredith
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Additional info for Fundamental Physics of Radiology
2 ' w a n d e r s ' round inside until it enters another uranium rod where it produces a fission and neutrons Nos. 3 and 4. N o . 3 follows a path, and has a fate, similar to that of N o . 2, producing a fission and hence 2 more neutrons in another rod. Neutron N o . 4 behaves similarly but it will be noted that at one stage of its path it was heading out of the pile only to be turned back by a collision in the 'reflector'. Ultimately it, too, makes a fissionproducing collision, giving rise to neutrons 5 and 6.
There are two main sources. Neutrons are present in cosmic radiation, which continuously bombards our world, but probably a more effective source is from the spontaneous fission of uranium. In 1 gramme of uranium a b o u t 24 one in 1 0 atoms spontaneously split every second, but even at this extremely low rate there will be, on the average, about one fission per minute in every gramme of uranium, which is quite enough to 'trigger off' the whole process. A n d finally it must be added that reactors can also work with other high atomic number materials: plutonium is one of them.
In the head-on 'collision* between an electron and a target a t o m the former, as already stated, loses all its energy in one photon. , Ε = eV. F o r example, if the tube is working at a constant 200 kV. ). Because of this sort of conversion of kinetic energy, acquired from elec trical energy, into electromagnetic radiation energy, it is convenient—and increasingly Fig. —Some interactions between electrons and atoms in an X-ray tube target, and their results. ) or kilo- or mega-electron-volts (keV.
Fundamental Physics of Radiology by W. J. Meredith