USES OF RADIOACTIVITY
Many radio isotopes can be obtained from radioactivity. These radio isotopes have found wide variety of applications in the fields of medicine, agriculture, industry and archeological research.
The radio isotope of phosphorous (P-32) helps to increase the productivity of crops. The radiations from the radio isotopes can be used to kill the insects and parasites and prevent the wastage of agricultural products. Certain perishable cereals exposed to radiations remain fresh beyond their normal life, enhancing the storage time. Very small doses of radiation prevent sprouting and spoilage of onions, potatoes and gram.
Medical applications of radio isotopes can be divided into two parts:
i) Diagnosis ii) Therapy
Radio isotopes are used as tracers to diagnose the nature of circulatory disorders of blood, defects of bone metabolism, to locate tumors, etc. Some of the radio isotopes which are used as tracers are: hydrogen, carbon, nitrogen, sulphur, etc.
· Radio sodium (Na24) is used for the effective functioning of heart.
· Radio – Iodine (I131) is used to cure goiter.
· Radio-iron is (Fe59) is used to diagnose anaemia and also to provide treatment for the same.
· Radio phosphorous (P32) is used in the treatment of skin diseases.
· Radio cobalt (Co60) and radio-gold (Au198) are used in the treatment of skin cancer.
· Radiations are used to sterilize the surgical devices as they can kill the germs and microbes.
In industries, radioactive isotopes are used as tracers to detect any manufacturing defects such as cracks and leaks. Packaging faults can also be identified through radio activity. Gauges, which have radioactive sources are used in many industries to check the level of gases, liquids and solids.
· An isotope of californium (Cf 252) is used in the airlines to detect the explosives in the luggage.
· An isotope of Americium (Am241) is used in many industries as a smoke detector.
Using the technique of radio carbon dating, the age of the Earth, fossils, old paintings and monuments can be determined. In radio carbon dating, the existing amount of radio carbon is determined and this gives an estimate about the age of these things.