Problem: The half-life of a radioactive isotope is the amount of time it takes for a quantity of that isotope to decay to one half of its original value. (a) The half-life of radiocarbon or Carbon 14 (C-14) is 5230 years. Determine its decay rate parameter. Carbon dating is a method of determining the age of an object using the properties of radiocarbon. It was pioneered by Willard Libby and collaborators in 1949 to date archaeological, geological, and other samples. Its main idea is that by measuring the amount of radiocarbon still found in the organic matter and comparing it to the amount normally found in living matter, we can approximate the amount of time since death occurred. (b) Using the decay-rate parameter found in part (a), find the time since death if 35% of radiocarbon is still in the sample.

FREE Expert Solution

We are asked to determine the decay rate parameter of Carbon 14 (C-14) with a half-life of 5230 years and the time since death if 35% of radiocarbon that is still in the sample, using the decay rate parameter.


View Complete Written Solution
Problem Details

The half-life of a radioactive isotope is the amount of time it takes for a quantity of that isotope to decay to one half of its original value. 

(a) The half-life of radiocarbon or Carbon 14 (C-14) is 5230 years. Determine its decay rate parameter. 

Carbon dating is a method of determining the age of an object using the properties of radiocarbon. It was pioneered by Willard Libby and collaborators in 1949 to date archaeological, geological, and other samples. Its main idea is that by measuring the amount of radiocarbon still found in the organic matter and comparing it to the amount normally found in living matter, we can approximate the amount of time since death occurred. 

(b) Using the decay-rate parameter found in part (a), find the time since death if 35% of radiocarbon is still in the sample.

Frequently Asked Questions

What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the First Order Half Life concept. You can view video lessons to learn First Order Half Life. Or if you need more First Order Half Life practice, you can also practice First Order Half Life practice problems.