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Carbon is naturally in all living organisms and is replenished in the tissues by eating other organisms or by breathing air that contains carbon.
At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.
Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.
The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.
Suppose the clay is in a pipe and as the kerosene flows through the pipe, every foot of clay removes 20% of the pollutants, leaving 80%.
If feet of pipe can be represented by the following equation: Suppose that the pollutants must be reduced to 10% in order for the kerosene to be used for jet fuel.
Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.
When finding the age of an organic organism we need to consider the half-life of carbon 14 as well as the rate of decay, which is –0.693.
For example, say a fossil is found that has 35% carbon 14 compared to the living sample. We can use a formula for carbon 14 dating to find the answer.
How long does the pipe have to be to ensure that there is only 10% of the pollutants left in the kerosene?
This means that we need a pipe that is 10.3 feet long in order for the pollutants to be reduced to 10% of their starting amount.
After 5,730 years, the amount of carbon 14 left in the body is half of the original amount.