# How is radioactive dating used to estimate the age of objects

Knowing about half-lives is important because it enables you to determine when a sample of radioactive material is safe to handle. The rule is that a sample is safe when its radioactivity has dropped below detection limits. And that occurs at 10 half-lives.

Radioactive decay dating. Radioactive decay refers to the process in which a radioactive form of an element is converted into a nonradioactive product at a regular rate. The nucleus of every radioactive element (such as radium and uranium) spontaneously disintegrates over time, transforming itself into the nucleus of an atom of a different element. In the process of disintegration, the atom gives off radiation (energy emitted in the form of waves). Hence the term radioactive decay. Each element decays at its own rate, unaffected by external physical conditions. By measuring the amount of original and transformed atoms in an object, scientists can determine the age of that object.

How is radioactive dating used to estimate the age of objects

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How is radioactive dating used to estimate the age of objects