• Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

radiocarbon dating coursework

Extracts from this document...


1. Frank William Libby invented the method of using the half-life of carbon-14 to date objects,

2. Radiocarbon dating is used to date a variety of sources  but the main factor is that the sources would have had to once be a carbon-life form the carbon is passed through living things through the food-chain starting from the plants who breathe it in from the upper atmosphere. Examples include:

Wooden objects






Ships e.t.c

3. a) this  is the time taken for half of the nuclei in a radioactive source to decay. For example, the half-life of carbon-14 is 5730 years.

  b) On graph paper

  c) The half-life of carbon-14 according to my graph is about 5700-5720 years as you can see on my graph, it took 5700 years for the com to decrease from 1200 to 60 and another 5700 years for that to half into 30 cpm. This is

...read more.


Also we must use the proper equipment to extract any object as contaminated equipment might affect the results, the equipment used must be pure from any forms of radiation from previous objects as well.

When using carbon dating some geologists use the depth of the object being excavated and compare it with the dating of a different object using a different radioactive source to determine whether the dates are accurate for example, scientists could use uranium-238 to date rock samples close in depth to the carbon sample and if the two dates match, the results would be fairly accurate.

4. limitations of carbon-14 dating

Although it is a fairly accurate and effective method of dating there are some limitations to using carbon-14 dating:

The size of the sample used is important, large samples are very useful as these can be purified and cleaned to

...read more.


5. uranium-238 dating

Uranium-238 is a highly radioactive source used to date objects such as rocks. When uranium decays it slowly turns into lead, lead is not radioactive and the presence of lead in the rock would stay constant, we can then use the ratio of lead to uranium to find out how much time has passed since it was formed. E.g. the half-life of uranium-238 is about 4500 million years. So after every 4500 million years half the uranium turns into lead, if the proportion of uranium to lead in a rock is about ¼ uranium to ¾ lead then we can tell that the rock is about 9 million years old(two half-lives).

Uranium is used for dating rocks because it has a very long half-life and rocks are extremely old so it is appropriate for this kind of dating and although this method also has its limitations it is a very successful method of dating

  1. physics for you page 352(copy enclosed)
  2. www.wikipedia.org
  3. www.geology.about.com/od.geotime_dating/a/uraniumlead.htm

...read more.

This student written piece of work is one of many that can be found in our GCSE Radioactivity section.

Found what you're looking for?

  • Start learning 29% faster today
  • 150,000+ documents available
  • Just £6.99 a month

Not the one? Search for your essay title...
  • Join over 1.2 million students every month
  • Accelerate your learning by 29%
  • Unlimited access from just £6.99 per month

See related essaysSee related essays

Related GCSE Radioactivity essays

  1. Peer reviewed

    As part of my AS physics coursework I went on a trip to Queen ...

    4 star(s)

    This provides a better image in people who are in early pregnancy. Vaginal scans are becoming indispensable in the early diagnosis of ectopic pregnancies and so fetal abnormalities are easily being diagnosed using a vaginal scan. Why and When Is UltraSound used In Pregnancy?

  2. Should radioactive smoke alarms be a compulsory purchase?

    However, the average number of fatal casualties per 1000 fires is 8 where a fire alarm is absent or not working. This demonstrates that when a smoke alarm is absent the number of fatalities more than doubles.8 The presence of a fire alarm clearly warns the occupiers that there is a fire.

  1. Radiation: are mobile phones unsafe? Mobiles use electromagnetic radiation in order to send and ...

    They say that all the risk factors of using a mobile phone are exaggerrated by the media and people really do not need to worry at all about what will happen to them if they use a mobile phone. There have been many researches and studies which have been carried out to try to prove this idea...

  2. Do Mobile Phones Cause Brain Tumours

    This technology was based primarily in ships or aircrafts and military vehicles. These were radiotelephones. Then, there were radiophones in cars and finally, in the 1980's, cellular phones. There were already theories for cellular mobile technology in the 1940's but it took another 40 years to shape.

  1. Gamma Rays

    * high energy radiation with shorter wavelength than X rays * never fully absorbed therefore has a very long range * very very weakly ionizing because it has no charge or mass * not affected by electric and magnetic fields * kills living cells * only emitted with alpha and

  2. What radon is and how it is formed by radioactive decay

    Instead of removing radon from underneath the slab by a fan, it simply seals the concrete and leaves the gas in the ground. Sealing the pores stops radon diffusion and advection through the slab and the walls. At the same time, it blocks water migration and reduces emanation from concrete.

  1. The advantages and disadvantages of nuclear power and fossil fuels and which is the ...

    They both turn huge blades connected to a generator using steam. However, the way in which the steam is produced is very different from the process used in fossil fuel plants.

  2. Radiation Information - Carbon Dating

    This became known as the Libby half-life. After 10 half-lives, there is a very small amount of radioactive carbon in a sample. At about 50 - 60 000 years, then, the technique can't be used (beyond this time, other radiometric techniques must be used for dating).

  • Over 160,000 pieces
    of student written work
  • Annotated by
    experienced teachers
  • Ideas and feedback to
    improve your own work