Radioactive carbon dating problems

The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.

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The half-life of a radioactive isotope describes the amount of time that it takes half of the isotope in a sample to decay.In the case of radiocarbon dating, the half-life of carbon 14 is 5,730 years.If the amount of carbon 14 is halved every 5,730 years, it will not take very long to reach an amount that is too small to analyze.When finding the age of an organic organism we need to consider the half-life of carbon 14 as well as the rate of decay, which is –0.693.At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.

When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.This can be represented as an exponential function if we say that every time I bake cookies my time decreases by 1/5 of the previous time.We can use exponential decay to represent a number of different things.Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.We can see exponential decay in other areas as well.