Carbon dating lesson plans

The latter slow down, again by colliding with matter in the atmosphere.

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A 1 gram sample of carbon from living material shows an activity of about 14 disintegrations per minute. If an excavated sample of plant or animal origin from an archaeological site had a measured activity of 7 disintegrations per minute (dpm), the age of the sample could be fixed at about 5,730 years ± 40 years.

It involves converting the carbon in only a very small piece of the artefact to carbon dioxide gas by controlled combustion.

The carbon present in the gas is then converted to a small plug of a graphite/iron composite.

Liquid scintillation spectrometry involves converting all of the carbon in the sample to a liquid called benzene.

A special chemical is added to the sample that produces tiny specks of light called scintillations when carbon-14 atoms decay.

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