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Chemistry definition radioactive dating

chemistry definition radioactive dating-9

The curie was named after Marie and Pierre Curie who discovered the element radium. The half-life of an isotope is the time on average that it takes for half of the atoms in a sample to decay.For example, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years.

Example of a radioactive decay chain from lead-212 (212Pb) to lead-208 (208Pb) .Each step in such a chain is characterized by a distinct half-life.In these cases, the half-life of interest in radiometric dating is usually the longest one in the chain.The different methods of radiometric dating are accurate over different timescales, and they are useful for different materials.After one half-life has elapsed, one half of the atoms of the nuclide in question will have decayed into a "daughter" nuclide, or decay product.It is based on a comparison between the observed abundance of a naturally occurring radioactive isotope and its decay products, using known decay rates.

It is the principal source of information about the absolute age of rocks and other geological features, including the age of the Earth itself, and it can be used to date a wide range of natural and man-made materials.

Sometimes isotopes decay from one unstable isotope into another unstable isotope.

This can happen continuously in a long radioactive chain. As it decays, it transforms through a number of elements including thorium, radium, francium, radon, polonium, and bismuth.

It finally ends up as a stable isotope as the element lead. Radiation can alter the structure of cells in our bodies causing mutations which can produce cancer.

The more radiation a person is exposed to, the more dangerous it is. Despite the risks, there are a number of good ways that science has used radiation.

Radioactive Decay to other Elements When isotopes decay they can lose some of their atomic particles (i.e.