Dating by radioactivity

Posted by / 02-Oct-2019 16:08

Dating by radioactivity

Radioactive decay is a random process, meaning that it is physically impossible to predict whether or not a given atomic nucleus will decay and emit radiation at any given moment.Instead, it is quantified by half-life, which is the period of time it takes for half of a given sample of nuclei to decay.Gamma rays have no weight, and travel at the speed of light.Some heavy nuclei can, instead of emitting alpha particles, actually split apart, releasing a lot of energy, a process known as nuclear fission.

It will therefore lose this extra energy by emitting a gamma ray — a very high frequency form of electromagnetic radiation.

The best-known uses of radioactivity are perhaps in nuclear power stations and in nuclear weapons.

The first atomic weapons made use of a runaway chain reaction to release a huge amount of energy in the form of intense heat, light, and ionizing radiation.

To be stable, a nucleus cannot be too heavy, and needs to have the right balance of protons and neutrons.

A heavy nucleus — one that has a large number of protons and neutrons — will sooner or later lose some weight, or mass, by emitting an alpha particle, which consists of two protons and two neutrons bound together.

dating by radioactivity-15dating by radioactivity-53dating by radioactivity-10

Unstable atomic nuclei are said to decay, meaning that they lose some of their mass or energy in order to reach a more stable, lower energy, state.

One thought on “dating by radioactivity”