Application of carbon 14 dating

Carbon is the basis of life and is present in all living things.Radiocarbon, or carbon-14 (also written as C), is an isotope of carbon that is unstable and weakly radioactive.As you learned in the previous page, carbon dating uses the half-life of Carbon-14 to find the approximate age of certain objects that are 40,000 years old or younger.In the following section we are going to go more in-depth about carbon dating in order to help you get a better understanding of how it works.Carbon-14 reacts identically to Carbon-12 and is rapidly oxidised to form (Carbon-14)Dioxide.Since all living organisms on Earth are made up of organic molecules that contain Carbon atoms derived from the atmosphere, they therefore contain Carbon-14 atoms.

application of carbon 14 dating-89application of carbon 14 dating-62

Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron.Atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Most carbon on Earth exists as the very stable isotope carbon-12, with a very small amount as carbon-13.Here’s an example using the simplest atom, hydrogen. Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12.When these energetic neutrons collide with a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom it turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).Since Nitrogen gas makes up about 78 percent of the Earth's air, by volume, a considerable amount of Carbon-14 is produced.