Free 5-day trial Radiometric dating is a method used to determine the age of rocks and other materials based on the rate of radioactive decay. Radiometric dating is a method used to date rocks based on the known decay rate of radioactive isotopes. Now, they do not give off enough radiation that you have to be afraid to pick them up, but they do contain naturally occurring radioactive elements like uranium, for example.
Learn about three common types of radioactive decay: alpha decay, beta decay and gamma decay. You simply subtract your birth date from the current date. It was also discovered that these elements decayed into other elements at fixed rates.
We call the unstable nuclide that undergoes radioactive decay the parent nuclide and the nuclide that results from the radioactive decay the daughter nuclide.
This is a fairly easy concept to remember because it is as if the original nuclide is giving birth to the new nuclide, much like a human parent and daughter relationship.
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Inside this nucleus, we see the protons and neutrons.
This parent nucleus is feeling somewhat unstable because it is too big or simply has too many protons, and it wants to get to a more stable state, so it's going to take two protons and two neutrons and kick them out of the nucleus as we see here.
When they do, they release energy and get transformed into different nuclides.
It's as if the nucleus is feeling too full of energy and it has to get rid of some, much like a hyperactive child who is so full of energy that he cannot stay seated in his chair.
So, to understand this process, we need to know that an alpha particle is two protons and two neutrons bound together, which is the same as a helium nucleus.