How effective is carbon dating
The purpose of this is to test the thickness of the sheets.
Because the beta radiation can only partially penetrate aluminium foil, if the readings on the Geiger counter are too low, it means that the aluminium foil is too thick and that the presses are adjusted to make the sheets thinner.
Likewise, if the Geiger reading is too high, the presses are adjusted to make the sheets thicker.
Sidenote: The blue glow produced in some nuclear power plant pools is due to high speed beta particles moving faster than that of light traveling through water.
Alpha particles are most commonly used in smoke alarms.
These alarms contain a tiny amount of decaying Americium between two sheets of metal. A small electric current is then passed through one of the sheets and into the second one.
They are emitted by a decaying nucleus, that expels the gamma rays in an effort to become more stable as an atom.
Though the least ionising of all the forms of radiation, that doesn't mean Gamma rays aren't dangerous.
When the field of alpha radiation is blocked by smoke, the alarm goes off.
This alpha radiation is not harmful because it is very localised and any radiation that might escape would be stopped quickly in the air and would be extremely difficult to get into your body.
Beta radiation consists of an electron and is characterized by its high energy and speed.
Beta radiation is more hazardous because, like alpha radiation, it can cause ionisation of living cells.