Carbon dating is a technique that measures the age of ancient objects containing carbon.
The 14C isotope of carbon is radioactive and is only accumulated in living organisms.
Once dead, the amount of 14C, and thus its ratio to the 12C decreases which results in decreasing the radioactivity of the sample.
where At is the current activity, A0 is the initial activity, k is the rate (decay) constant, and t is the time for which the decay is measured.
It is important to remember that instead of activity (A), it can be the mass (m), moles, number of atoms (N), etc.
Carbon dating is a specific example of using the kinetics of nuclear reactions. For a more comprehensive list of the half-life, and other features of nuclear reactions, check the following set of practice problems:
Here is a 73-question, Multiple-Choice Quiz on Nuclear Chemistry:
An archaeological sample gives 4.80 disintegrations of 14C per minute per gram of total carbon. How old is the sample if the initial decay rate of 14C is 15.3 cpm/g C, and its half-life is 5730 years?
How old is an ancient painting with a 14C activity of 7.60 cpm/g if the initial decay rate of 14C is 15.3 cpm/g C, and its half-life is 5730 years?
A wooden tray discovered by a group of archeologists has a 14C activity that is 73% of the current 14C activity. How old is the tray?
The activity of 400. mg sample of 14C carbon collected from an ancient cloth is 145 disintegrations per hour. How old is the cloth if the activity of a current 1.00-g sample of carbon is 921 disintegrations per hour?
The bones of a camel were found to have 14C activity of 3.40 dis/min · g carbon. Determine, approximately, how long ago the animal lived given the initial decay rate of 14C is 15.3 cpm/g carbon, and its half-life is 5730 years?