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The half-life is the amount of time it takes for half of the atoms of a specific isotope to decay.(Remember, isotopes are variations of elements with a different number of neutrons.) The half-life is reliable in dating artifacts because it is not affected by environmental or chemical factors; it does not change.Just as in the example with uranium, scientists are able to determine the age of a sample by using the ratios of the daughter product compared to the parent.Also, when dating with carbon-14, scientists compare the amount of carbon-14 to carbon -12.The isotope doesn't actually deteriorate; it just changes into something else.Isotopes decay at a constant rate known as the half-life.
Carbon-14 is a specific isotope used in dating materials that were once living.
Other common isotopes used in radioactive dating are uranium, potassium and iodine.
To answer the question to the uranium problem above, after about three half-lives, only 12.5% of uranium-238 would remain. We have over 95 college courses that prepare you to earn credit by exam that is accepted by over 2,000 colleges and universities.
Carbon, uranium and potassium are just a few examples of elements used in radioactive dating.
Each element is made up of atoms, and within each atom is a central particle called a nucleus.