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decay chain

decay chain in Science
decay chain  
A sequence of radioactive decay processes, in which the decay of one element creates a new element that may itself be radioactive. The chain ends when stable atoms are formed. For example, uranium-238 decays into thorium-234, which in turn decays into palladium-234, and so on until stable iron is produced at the end of the chain. Also called decay sequence.
The American Heritage® Science Dictionary
Copyright © 2002. Published by Houghton Mifflin. All rights reserved.
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