Decay v1.1 - Readme File


  1. System requirements
  2. Downloading and installing
  3. Rationale for the program
  4. Ways of using the program
  5. Altered in this Build

System Requirements

This software should run under Microsoft Windows 95/98 (TM). It may run on Windows NT. The final installation will require approximately 400 kb of hard disk space, however the compressed file will initially expand to about 800 kb.

Downloading and Installing

This software has been compressed into a single-part download of approximately 500kb. At a transfer rate of 3 kb/sec it will take approximately 2.5 minutes to download.

To download, select the 'download link' and specify a download location. You will need to remember this download location to run the install program, so now is a good time to make a note of it.

Wait until the download is complete. Note that if internet traffic is heavy this could take considerably longer than the 2.5 minutes indicated above - you can always try when traffic is not so heavy.

Once the download is complete, find the downloaded file and double click it to decompress and run the InstallShield(TM) installation program. Follow the instructions on screen which allow you to chose where Decay v1.0 should be installed to - if you are not sure, it is best to leave all the settings as they are during the installation procedure.

When the installation is complete, you can run Decay v1.0 from the Start menu, under the Programs menu.

Rationale for the program

This program is aimed at school pupils studying standard grade physics. Specifically, it is intended as a teaching or investigation aid for the 'Health Physics - Radiation' part of the curriculum.

Ways of using the program

First, set up the initial conditions for the simulation (do this through the 'Simulation' menu). Choose the number of radionuclei you wish to start the simulation with, along with the decay constant. Remember also to specify a filename and location for the simulation's output to be recorded.

Run the simulation. With a large number of nuclei, it may take some time - this will depend on your system - start with a small number (like 1000) and work your way up.

Analyse your data, either by eyeballing it in notepad, or opening it in a spreadsheet like MS Excel (select comma delimited). Plot graphs and note the effect of changing the decay constant, or changing the number of nuclei. Use your graphs to calculate the half-life and investigate the connection to the decay constant.

Altered in this Build

Fixed error with 'Time after start'. First datum is now 'Time after start - 0' Changed default file path for output to C:\My Documents\Physics

Chris McGinlay, Ascent Software Ltd.

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