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NUCLEAR radiation causes material degradation through several processes. Ionizing radiations, the charged particles, and gamma rays cause organic materials to change chemically and electrical conductivity to increase. Energetic neutrons displace atoms by knocking them out of their position in the structure of the material; and the displaced atoms, as charged particles, also cause ionization and secondary displacements. Less energetic neutrons may be absorbed by a nucleus. The new isotope may be unstable and decay in any of several processes such as fission, alpha, beta, or gamma emission, each of which may cause ionization. Material degradation then is caused by ionization, displacement, and transmutation which are observed as chemical changes and increased conductivity.
American Institute of Electrical Engineers, Part II: Applications and Industry, Transactions of the (Volume:78 , Issue: 6 )
Date of Publication: Jan. 1960