Starting from medical science to nuclear energy, the uses of radioactivity are multiple. To learn more about the uses of radioactivity, read through this piece of writing.

Uses Of Radioactivity

Since the discovery of artificial radioactivity by Irene and Frederic Joliot Curie in 1934, mankind has found several uses of radioactivity. Radioactivity has been an important tool that has a wide application in the field of medical science, different scientific studies, and technical domains. The phenomenon of radioactive decay helps us to evaluate the age of historic objects like rocks, bones, cave paintings, etc. Geologists use this technique extensively to understand the earth’s history and evolution. On the other hand, radioactivity is also widely used in the production of electricity in nuclear power plants. Radioactivity has its unique applications in the field of medical science. Radiotherapy is used to treat various forms of cancers, while many diagnostic procedures also use radioactivity as the underlying working principle. Radioactivity is also used in agricultural science as well. To learn more about radioactivity and its uses in different branch of science, read through the next sections.

Radioactivity Uses

In Medical Science
Radiotherapy is an important part of medical science where radioactivity is used. A high dose of gamma rays are used to treat various forms of cancer. These gamma rays penetrate the skin and destroy the cancerous cells. Radioactivity is also used extensively for different diagnostic procedures as well. Radioactive iodine is used for diagnosing thyroid problems, while radioactive cobalt is used in detecting pernicious anemia. Radioactivity is also used extensively for sterilizing medical instruments.

Carbon Dating
Radioactivity is extensively used in carbon dating. Rocks contain trace amounts of radioactive carbon which is unstable in nature and undergoes radioactive decay over time until it reaches a stable state. The unstable original isotope is known as the parent isotope and the stable isotope is known as daughter isotope. Radioactivity is used to compare the ratio of the two isotopes, and this in turn helps in determining the exact age of the rock.

Tracer Technique
A radioactive element emits radiation that can be detected by a Geiger-Muller counter. With the help of this technique, it can be located at any stage of the reaction. Tracer technique is a high-tech analytical tool that is extensively used in different fields including physics, life science, chemistry, metallurgy, and geological science.

With the help of radioactivity and tracer technique, it has been possible to find information about self diffusion of atoms in vapor, liquids, and solid states in several chemical and metallurgical processes.

In Agriculture
Radioactivity is extensively used in agriculture. Radioactivity has helped to produce new variety of disease resistant grains and cereals. Plus, it is also used to measure moisture content in stored grains and control pests. Radioactive phosphorus is mixed in phosphate fertilizers to determine the amount of phosphorus absorbed by the plants. Radioactivity is also widely used for sterilizing food items.

Other Uses Of Radioactivity
  • Radioactive uranium is used in nuclear power plants as fuel to generate electricity.
  • Radioactivity is used to sterilize medical instruments.
  • Radiation is also used in manufacturing industries.
  • Radioactivity is used in smoke detectors.
The uses of radioactivity are diverse, some of which have been discussed above. However, radioactivity should be always used in controlled amounts as over exposure to radioactive elements can cause cancer, genetic mutation, and other potential health hazards to mankind.

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