Half life of carbon 14 dating
Carbon-14 is a radioactive isotope of carbon used by archaeologists to date objects and remains.Carbon-14 is naturally occurring in the atmosphere.Plants take it up in respiration, in which they convert sugars made during photosynthesis back into energy that they use to grow and maintain other processes, according to Colorado State University.
Because organisms stop taking in carbon-14 after death, scientists can use carbon-14's half-life as a sort of clock to measure how long it has been since the organism died.
Atoms are arranged as a nucleus surrounded by an electron cloud, with electrons zinging around at different distances from the nucleus.
Chemists conceive of these distances as shells, and define the properties of atoms by what is in each shell, according to the University of California, Davis.
This method works on once-living organisms, including objects made of wood or other plant material.
Carbon is a long-studied element, but that doesn't mean there isn't more to discover.
Carbon as coal is still a major source of fuel worldwide, providing about 30 percent of energy worldwide, according to the World Coal Association.