The time it takes for 14C to radioactively decay is described by its half-life. C has a half-life of 5,730 years. In other words, after 5,730 years, only half of the original amount of 14C remains in a sample of organic material.
Can carbon-14 completely decay?
Carbon-14 (14C), or radiocarbon, is a radioactive isotope of carbon with an atomic nucleus containing 6 protons and 8 neutrons. Carbon-12 and carbon-13 are both stable, while carbon-14 is unstable and has a half-life of 5,730 ± 40 years. Carbon-14 decays into nitrogen-14 through beta decay.
What will carbon-14 eventually decay?
Carbon-14 is an unstable isotope of carbon that will eventually decay at a known rate to become carbon-12. Cosmic rays – high-energy particles from beyond the solar system – bombard Earths upper atmosphere continually, in the process creating the unstable carbon-14.