Radioactive dating gcse questions


The isotope Uranium-238 has a half life as long as 4.5 billion years whereas the half life of Thorium-234 is as little as 24 days.

The animation below explains the half life of a radioactive isotope.

The age of the ancient organic materials can be found by measuring the amount of Carbon-14 that is left.

The most common tracer is called Technetium-99 and is very safe because it only emits gamma rays and doesn't cause much ionisation.

Radioisotopes can be used for medical purposes, such as checking for a blocked kidney.

To do this a small amount of Iodine-123 is injected into the patient, after 5 minutes 2 Geiger counters are placed over the kidneys.

The release of radiation is also a random event and overtime the activity of the radioactive material decreases.


Over the next 2 days 2500 of the remaining radioactive nuclei undergo decay.This is half of the remaining 5000 radioactive nuclei.


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