Properties of X-rays
(i) X-rays are electromagnetic waves of very short wave length. They travel in straight lines with the velocity of light. They are invisible to eyes.
(ii) They undergo reflection, refraction, interference, diffraction and polarisation.
(iii) They are not deflected by electric and magnetic fields. This indicates that X-rays do not have charged particles.
(iv) They ionize the gas through which they pass.
(v) They affect photographic plates.
(vi) X-rays can penetrate through the substances which are opaque to ordinary light e.g. wood, flesh, thick paper, thin sheets of metals.
(vii) When X-rays fall on certain metals, they liberate photo electrons (Photo electric effect).
(viii) X-rays have destructive effect on living tissue. When the human body is exposed to X-rays, it causes redness of the skin, sores and serious injuries to the tissues and glands. They destroy the white corpuscles of the blood.
(ix) X-rays do not pass through heavy metals such as lead and bones. If such objects are placed in their path, they cast their shadow.
A German scientist, Wilhelm Roentgen, in 1895, discovered X-rays when he was studying the phenomenon of discharge of electricity through gases.
After performing a series of experiments, Roentgen concluded that when a beam of fast moving electrons strike a solid target, an invisible penetrating radiation is produced. Due to the unknown nature of the radiation, Roentgen called these radiations as X - rays.
X-rays are electromagnetic waves of short wavelength in the range of 0.5 Å to 10 Å. Roentgen was awarded Nobel prize in 1901 for the discovery of X-rays.
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