Radiocarbon dating works by comparing the three different isotopes of carbon. Isotopes of a particular element have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but different numbers of neutrons. This means that although they are very similar chemically, they have different masses.
What is carbon dating a level chemistry?
Radiocarbon dating (also referred to as carbon dating or carbon-14 dating) is a method for determining the age of an object containing organic material by using the properties of radiocarbon, a radioactive isotope of carbon. The method was developed in the late 1940s at the University of Chicago by Willard Libby.
How do scientists find the carbon date?
So how do scientists do it? Radiocarbon dating is the most common method by far, according to experts. This method involves measuring quantities of carbon-14, a radioactive carbon isotope — or version of an atom with a different number of neutrons. Carbon-14 is ubiquitous in the environment.
How is nuclear chemistry used in carbon dating?
Radioactive dating is helpful for figuring out the age of ancient things. Carbon-14 (C-14), a radioactive isotope of carbon, is produced in the upper atmosphere by cosmic radiation. The primary carbon-containing compound in the atmosphere is carbon dioxide, and a very small amount of carbon dioxide contains C-14.