Chemistry of radioactive dating

The radiation produced during radioactive decay is such that the daughter nuclide lies closer to the band of stability than the parent nuclide, so the location of a nuclide relative to the band of stability can serve as a guide to the kind of decay it will undergo (Figure 1). A nucleus of uranium-238 (the parent nuclide) undergoes α decay to form thorium-234 (the daughter nuclide).The alpha particle removes two protons (green) and two neutrons (gray) from the uranium-238 nucleus.We classify different types of radioactive decay by the radiation produced. Alpha particles, which are attracted to the negative plate and deflected by a relatively small amount, must be positively charged and relatively massive.Beta particles, which are attracted to the positive plate and deflected a relatively large amount, must be negatively charged and relatively light.Ernest Rutherford’s experiments involving the interaction of radiation with a magnetic or electric field (Figure 2) helped him determine that one type of radiation consisted of positively charged and relatively massive α particles; a second type was made up of negatively charged and much less massive β particles; and a third was uncharged electromagnetic waves, γ rays.

During photosynthesis plants turn carbon dioxide into sugar.Understand how decay and half life work to enable radiometric dating.Play a game that tests your ability to match the percentage of the dating element that remains to the age of the object.When researchers find a bone or artifact, how do they know how old it is?While there are a number of answers to that question, most of which depend largely on the age and surroundings of the item, carbon dating is surely one of the most important.

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