when an alpha particle is emitted from an unstable nucleus, what happens to the atomic number of the nucleus?
*NOT the atomic mass number, just the atomic number
- Anonymous8 years agoFavorite Answer
The atomic number is the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom. It is also known as the 'proton number' for this reason.
When alpha-decay occurs, two neutrons and two protons are emitted from the nucleus.
Therefore, the atomic / proton number of the nucleus reduces by two.
Hope that makes sense :-)
JAKSource(s): Personal knowledge / degree level physicist.