There are few instructional tools available to teach basic nuclear reactions to beginning students. The activity described in this paper can be used to help students visualize and write basic nuclear reactions such as alpha, beta, and positron decay, as well as electron capture. These reactions are represented using the technology of thermochromic paints, which either change color or turn colorless depending upon the temperature. By using a special thermochromic paint that turns colorless upon heating, students are able to visualize nuclear interactions. For instance, when positron decay occurs, the object depicting a proton will "decay" into a neutron by the application of heat. In order to avoid confusion, the heating instrument is referred to as a "time gun." This paper includes the details of preparing and incorporating the activity into the classroom environment.
© Virginia Mathematics and Science Coalition, licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0) (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/)
Allen, D. and Oliver-Hoyo, M. T.
"Visualizing Basic Nuclear Reactions,"
Journal of Mathematics and Science: Collaborative Explorations: Vol. 6
, Article 15.
Available at: https://scholarscompass.vcu.edu/jmsce_vamsc/vol6/iss1/15