Uses of radiation dating

by  |  01-Oct-2019 08:59

Radioactivity has a wide range of uses, including nuclear power, in medicine, and in dating organic and geological samples.

It is also potentially dangerous, as high-energy particles and radiation can damage and kill cells, and alter DNA, causing cancer.

These high-energy electrons are known as beta rays, or beta particles.

Half-life applies to a sample of any size, from a microscopic quantity to all the atoms of that type in the universe.

Different radioactive isotopes vary widely in their half-lives, which range from a few seconds, in the case of astatine-218, to billions of years for uranium-238.

Beta decay occurs when a nucleus has too many neutrons for its number of protons.

In this process, a neutron, which is electrically neutral, spontaneously changes into a positively charged proton by emitting a negatively charged electron.

The best-known uses of radioactivity are perhaps in nuclear power stations and in nuclear weapons.

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