A cyclotron is sometimes used for carbon dating

Posted by / 30-Jun-2017 14:29

Among the known elements and their long-lived isotopes that are indigenous to Earth, there is a balance between the two forces that shape and govern nuclear structure and interactions.

One is the "strong force" which holds together protons and neutrons and the other is the Coulomb force, the electromagnetic repulsion between particles with the same charge.

The strong force is the more powerful of the two but has a much shorter range.

If too many neutrons are added to a stable nucleus, the nucleus is disrupted beyond the strong force's ability to hold it together.

If you hear of a carbon dating up in the millions of years, you're hearing a confused report. Second, they rarely contain any of the original carbon.

We can't date oil paints, because their oil is "old" carbon from petroleum. And third, it is common to soak new-found fossils in a preservative, such as shellac.

It is important, as well, to obtain multiple samples at different places on an object and then use statistical methods determine a reasonable range of ages.

Yet, even with ideal conditions, carbon-dating results can be highly erroneous or unexpected.

The total number of neutrons and protons (symbol A), or mass number, of the nucleus gives approximately the mass measured on the so-called atomic- mass-unit (amu) scale.

The C14 will undergo radioactive decay, and after 5730 years, half of it will be gone. So, if we find such a body, the amount of C14 in it will tell us how long ago it was alive. The method doesn't work on things which didn't get their carbon from the air.

This leaves out aquatic creatures, since their carbon might (for example) come from dissolved carbonate rock.

On the other hand, if too many protons are added, the Coulomb force blows it apart.

The upper and lower limits of the neutron-proton ratio represent the extremes of stable nuclei, the driplines, so to speak.

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Sometimes, erroneous results in Carbon dating remain inexplicable.