11. Conservation of Mass,       Charge, and Energy   Previous PageNext Page
       Nuclear Stability and Decay

Alternatively, the same result can be obtained in other nuclei by capturing an electron orbiting around the nucleus and using it to convert a proton to a neutron. This is electron capture:


Many nuclei can decay by either positron emission or electron capture. Both correspond to a movement down and to the right by one step in the stability graph, thereby bringing the nucleus closer to the stable region. In all of the reactions we have seen so far - beta emission, positron emission, and electron capture - notice that both mass number and charge are conserved.

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