Problem: The amount of carbon-14 present after t years is given by the exponential equation At = A0ekt, with k=- ln2/5600. Using carbon-14 dating of charcoal found along with fossilized leaf fragments, botanists arrived at an age of 48,000 years for a plant. What percent of the original carbon-14 in the charcoal was present?

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We’re being asked to calculate the percent of the original carbon-14 in the charcoal was present.



Recall that radioactive/nuclear decay of isotopes follows first-order kinetics and that half-life is the time needed for the amount of a reactant to decrease by 50% or one-half


The half-life of a first-order reaction is given by: 


t12=ln 2k


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Problem Details

The amount of carbon-14 present after t years is given by the exponential equation At = A0ekt, with k=- ln2/5600. Using carbon-14 dating of charcoal found along with fossilized leaf fragments, botanists arrived at an age of 48,000 years for a plant. 

What percent of the original carbon-14 in the charcoal was present?

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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.

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