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Radioactive Dating Methods of Three Isotopes

For Uranium-235, Thorium-232 and Samarium-147:

1) How long is its half-life?
2) How long will it take for there to be 25 percent of original radioactive product left?
3) What material is it best used for?
4) What are the disadvantages and advantages of using this element for dating?
5) Describe the process of decay it undergoes.
6) What is the stable daughter product?

Finally, find the half-life of carbon-14 in order to plot the decay of carbon-14 in terms of half-lives. You will need to create a line graph where "Number of Half-Lives" will be on the x-axis and your "Amount of Isotope Remaining (g)" is on the y-axis.

Solution Preview

Hi there,

Uranium-235?

1) How long is its half-life? ?
703,800,000 years

2) How long will it take for there to be 25 percent of original radioactive product left? ?
To have 25% of the original product left, 2 half-lives must have passed. One half-life will leave 50% of the original product, and a second half-life 25% of the original product.
2 half-lives = 1 407, 600, 600

3) What material is it best used for?
Zircon

4) What are the disadvantages and advantages of using this element for dating? ?
Advantages: Considered to be very reliable method of dating. Is useful for dating ancient geological formations (inorganic materials) such as lakebeds. The sample will not be destroyed in the dating process.
Disadvantage: Will not be useful on relatively young samples, or most organic materials.

5) Describe the process of decay it undergoes. ?
The decay ...

Solution Summary

This discussion includes strengths and weaknesses related to Uranium-235, Thorium-232, and Samarium-147 for radiometric dating.

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