How do radioactive things make other things radioactive?

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How do radioactive things make other things radioactive?

In: Physics
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Well, they typically don’t.

Materials tend to produce dust. I’m sure you’ve noticed that dust just *forms*. Especially materials that corrode, like iron, produce rust. Plutonium really likes to corrode. These dust particles, when a radioactive material, spread just like any other dust. They can stick to clothes, for instance. This is why a respirator is important when working with radioactives, as radioactive dust is a recipe for lung disaster.

The other one is nuclear transmutation. Neutron radiation, which is not produced by most radioactive things, can add neutrons to the nuclei of atoms. The additional neutron can make the nucleus unstable, and an unstable nucleus will eventually decay and release radiation (which is what makes all radioactive materials that way).

In general, they do not. If the radiation that is emitted is neutron radiation then it can transmute what is hist but most radioactive materials do not emit neutron radiation.

There is a danger of radioactive contamination but that is a physical transfer of material. So if there is radioactive dust it can be physically transferred to your clothes.
So your clothes do not charge there is just now material that is radioactive in them.

Compare to how if you stand in the smoke of a fire your clothes will smell of smoke. The smoke did not change the clothes but some of it got stuck in them.