Explain Why Charged Particles Do Not Penetrate Matter Deeply?


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Beta particles, negatively charged particles similar to electrons, can penetrate matter and are a major source of direct radiation poisoning when a nuclear weapon explodes. Lab experiments and computer models show beta particles (of this energy level) will pass through most matter like a hot knife through butter because they have lots of kinetic energy to expend before they get trapped in the matter (and because they are quite small; so they pass in between the atoms and molecules making up the matter).
Protons, like those with cosmic rays, do not penetrate deeply. These positively charged particles (larger than subatomic), bump into atoms and molecules and get absorbed, sending the target energy levels upward. The matter still becomes radioactive, but the protons do not typically pass all the way through the matter.... Unless the matter is very thin.

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