How to solve radioactive dating problems
Radioactive carbon has the same chemistry as stable carbon, and so it mixes into the ecosphere, where it is consumed and becomes part of every living organism.Carbon-14 has an abundance of 1.3 parts per trillion of normal carbon. This means they have shorter lifetimes, producing a greater rate of decay. For example, radium and polonium, discovered by the Curies, decay faster than uranium.Samples were tested at three independent laboratories, each being given four pieces of cloth, with only one unidentified piece from the shroud, to avoid prejudice.All three laboratories found samples of the shroud contain 92% of the found in living tissues, allowing the shroud to be dated (see [link]).There is a tremendous range in the half-lives of various nuclides, from as short as s for the most unstable, to more than y for the least unstable, or about 46 orders of magnitude.
If an individual nucleus makes it through that time, it still has a 50% chance of surviving through another half-life.
The concept of half-life is applicable to other subatomic particles, as will be discussed in Particle Physics.
It is also applicable to the decay of excited states in atoms and nuclei.
In this section we explore half-life and activity, the quantitative terms for lifetime and rate of decay. Half of the remaining nuclei decay in the next half-life.
Further, half of that amount decays in the following half-life.
By comparing the abundance of in an artifact, such as mummy wrappings, with the normal abundance in living tissue, it is possible to determine the artifact’s age (or time since death).