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Physics > Radioactive Penetration

The diagram below shows the standard penetrative properties of Alpha, Beta and Gamma radiation. Radiation can be absorbed by materials placed in its path. Alpha radiation can travel just a few centimetres in air, Beta can travel for tens of centimetres whereas gamma radiation can travel for several metres in the same medium.

A sheet of paper will absorb alpha radiation. Beta radiation penetrates paper but can be stopped, or absorbed by a sheet of thin aluminium. Gamma is absorbed by heavy lead or several metres of concrete.

This diagram is commonly used when teaching about the penetrating properties of radioactive isotopes. Our version can be copied and used in a variety of ways by our members.

Fig 1: Radioactive Penetration
Fig 1:
Radioactive Penetration