How To Solve Radioactive Decay Problems

How To Solve Radioactive Decay Problems-53
Note that the constant was positive, because it was a growth constant.

Note that the constant was positive, because it was a growth constant.

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What percent of the substance is left after 6 hours? Remember, if you take 1 minus 3.5%, or if you take 100% minus 3.5%-- this is how much we're losing every hour-- that equals 96.5%.

So let's make a little table here, to just imagine what's going on. So each hour we're going to have 96.5% of the previous hour.

Note that the variables may change from one problem to another, or from one context to another, but that the structure of the equation is always the same.

For instance, all of the following represent the same relationship: on and so forth.

One quick way to do this would be to figure out how many half-lives we have in the time given.

How To Solve Radioactive Decay Problems Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy Essay

6 days/2 days = 3 half lives 100/2 = 50 (1 half life) 50/2 = 25 (2 half lives) 25/2 = 12.5 (3 half lives) So 12.5g of the isotope would remain after 6 days.

Many math classes, math books, and math instructors leave off the units for the growth and decay rates.

However, if you see this topic again in chemistry or physics, you will probably be expected to use proper units ("growth-decay constant / time"), as I have displayed above.

It was originally used to describe the decay of radioactive elements like uranium or plutonium, but it can be used for any substance which undergoes decay along a set, or exponential, rate.

You can calculate the half-life of any substance, given the rate of decay, which is the initial quantity of the substance and the quantity remaining after a measured period of time.


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