Radio carbon dating chemistry

Many fission reactions are initiated by a very heavy atom being hit (or, in chemistry lingo, bombarded) by a neutron.

This makes the already slightly unstable heavy atom even more unstable, which causes it to split into smaller atoms and possibly eject a few neutrons.

In living organisms, which are always taking in carbon, the levels of carbon 14 likewise stay constant.

But in a dead organism, no new carbon is coming in, and its carbon 14 gradually begins to decay.

So by measuring carbon 14 levels in an organism that died long ago, researchers can figure out when it died.

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The carbon 14 present in an organism at the time of its death decays at a steady rate, and so the age of the remains can be calculated from the amount of carbon 14 that is left. The cells of all living things contain carbon atoms that they take in from their environment.The 'heavier' atom that is produced is actually lighter than the two individual pieces, which means that mass is lost.Because mass and energy are tied together, when mass is lost, energy is lost, or emitted.In a fusion reaction, massive amounts of energy are emitted.Currently, there is no feasible way to harness this energy from fusion and use it to power our infrastructure, but several years down the road, it is possible that it could supply us with the energy we need.

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