Half life dating

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The term half-life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate.

The term half-life is defined as the time it takes for one-half of the atoms of a radioactive material to disintegrate.

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During natural radioactive decay, not all atoms of an element are instantaneously changed to atoms of another element.Dating an artifact found on a dig or evaluating the age of a rock requires special kinds of calculations and assessment.One important approach used in geologic dating involves radioactivity.By determining how much of the carbon-14 has transmutated, scientist can calculate and estimate the age of a substance. Isotopes with longer half-lives such as Uranium-238 can be used to date even older objects.In the field of nondestructive testing radiographers (people who produce radiographs to inspect objects) also use half-life information.A radiographer who works with radioisotopes needs to know the specific half-life to properly determine how much radiation the source in the camera is producing so that the film can be exposed properly.After one half-life of a given radioisotope, only one half as much of the original number of atoms remains active.The decay process takes time and there is value in being able to express the rate at which a process occurs.A useful concept is half-life (symbol is \(t_\)), which is the time required for half of the starting material to change or decay.Half-lives can be calculated from measurements on the change in mass of a nuclide and the time it takes to occur.The only thing we know is that in the time of that substance's half-life, half of the original nuclei will disintegrate.

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