Ask an Atheist with Sam Mulvey

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Neil H

Technically speaking it is the charge on alpha and beta particles that limits their penetrating power. Their mass does correlate the total damage inflicted since heavier things tend to have more energy to deposit, but the energy is deposited over a shorter path due to the net electric charge on alphas and betas allowing them to interact with any atom they pass near to rather than needing a direct hit like gammas and neutrons. As mentioned neutrons need a significant amount of material (ideally high density but low atomic weight) to be blocked but betas can easily be blocked by… Read more »

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