Radioactive dating licorice lab

The disintegration of the neutrons within the atom of the element's nucleus is what scientists call radioactivity.An isotope disintegrates at a constant rate called the half-life, or the time it takes for half the atoms of a sample to decay. By counting the number of half-lives and the percentages remaining of parent and daughter isotopes, scientists are able to determine what they call the absolute age of a discovery.

Radioactive dating uses the ratios of isotopes and their specific decay products to determine the ages of rocks, fossils, and other substances.

Elements occur naturally in the earth, and they can tell us a lot about its past.

Within the nucleus, we find neutrons and protons; but for now, let's just focus on the neutrons.

These neutrons can become unstable, and when they do, they release energy and undergo decay. Radioactivity occurs when the nucleus contains an excess amount of neutrons.

Carbon, uranium, and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.

Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.

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The half-life is so predictable that it is also referred to as an atomic clock.

Since all living things contain carbon, carbon-14 is a common radioisotope used primarily to date items that were once living.

The half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the atoms of a specific isotope to decay.

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