The ratio of normal carbon (carbon-12) to carbon-14 in the air and in all living things at any given time is nearly constant.

Maybe one in a trillion carbon atoms are carbon-14.

chemical workings of carbon dating-12chemical workings of carbon dating-59

When these energetic neutrons collide with a nitrogen-14 (seven protons, seven neutrons) atom it turns into a carbon-14 atom (six protons, eight neutrons) and a hydrogen atom (one proton, zero neutrons).

Since Nitrogen gas makes up about 78 percent of the Earth's air, by volume, a considerable amount of Carbon-14 is produced.

The most common isotope of carbon has 6 protons and 6 neutrons, and has an atomic mass of 12.0107 amu. Its oxidation state ranges from 4 to -4, and it has an electronegativity value of 2.55 on the Pauling scale.

It is a solid, and sublimes at 3,642 °C (it has the highest sublimation point of all the elements).

Age determinations can also be obtained from carbonate deposits such as calcite, dissolved carbon dioxide, and carbonates in ocean, lake, and groundwater sources.

Cosmic rays enter the earth's atmosphere in large numbers every day and when one collides with an atom in the atmosphere, it can create a secondary cosmic ray in the form of an energetic neutron.Diamond is transparent, the ultimate abrasive, and can be an electrical insulator and thermal conductor.Conversely, graphite is opaque, a very good lubricant, a good conductor of electricity, and a thermal insulator.Libby and coworkers, and it has provided a way to determine the ages of different materials in archeology, geology, geophysics, and other branches of science.Some examples of the types of material that radiocarbon can determine the ages of are wood, charcoal, marine and freshwater shell, bone and antler, and peat and organic-bearing sediments.Carbon has two stable, naturally occurring isotopes: carbon-12 and carbon-13.