A32 Halflife s

The half-life is the time period over which half the nuclei of a given radionuclide decay. The half-life, depending on the radionuclide considered, varies from billions of years (i.e. U238 has a half-life of 4.468 x 109 years) down to small fractions of

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seconds (i.e. Po has 164 microseconds). An example may help: Pb has a half life of 26.8 min, and this means that if there are N nuclei of Pb214 at time zero, after 26.8 minutes there will be N/2 nuclei (the other N/2 have become Bi214 because of beta decay), after 53.6 minutes there will be N/4 nuclei of Pb214 (3/4N have become Bi214) and so on.

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