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Exponential Models

473

(B) Use N0

1 and t N

1.386(12)

Let N0

1 and t

12.

MATCHED PROBLEM

Repeat Example 2 if N

Exponential functions can also be used to model radioactive decay, which is sometimes referred to as negative growth. Radioactive materials are used extensively in medical diagnosis and therapy, as power sources in satellites, and as power sources in many countries. If we start with an amount A0 of a particular radioactive isotope, the amount declines exponentially in time. The rate of decay varies from isotope to isotope. A convenient and easily understood measure of the rate of decay is the half-life of the isotopethat is, the time it takes for half of a particular material to decay. We use the following half-life decay model: A

1 A0(2)t h

h h

t h

A02

A0 2

and the amount of isotope is half the original amount, as it should be.

EXAMPLE

Radioactive Decay

The radioactive isotope gallium 67 (67Ga), used in the diagnosis of malignant tumors, has a biological half-life of 46.5 hours. If we start with 100 milligrams of the isotope, how many milligrams will be left after (A) 24 hours? (B) 1 week?

474

CHAPTER 5

We use the half-life decay model: A Using A0 100 and h A0(1)t h 2 A02

t h

t 46.5

Figure 2

A (milligrams)

100

50

100

200

Hours

Z Figure 2

A 100(2

t 46.5

).

Calculate to three signicant digits.

(B) Find A when t 168 hours (1 week 168 hours): A 100(2 168/46.5) 8.17 milligrams

Calculate to three signicant digits.

MATCHED PROBLEM

Radioactive gold 198 (198Au), used in imaging the structure of the liver, has a halflife of 2.67 days. If we start with 50 milligrams of the isotope, how many milligrams will be left after: (A)

1 2

day?

(B) 1 week?

Compute answers to three signicant digits. As an alternative to the half-life decay model, we can use the equation y ce kt, where c and k are positive constants, to model radioactive decay. Example 4 illustrates this approach.

S E C T I O N 52

Exponential Models

475

EXAMPLE

Carbon-14 Dating

Cosmic-ray bombardment of the atmosphere produces neutrons, which in turn react with nitrogen to produce radioactive carbon-14. Radioactive carbon-14 enters all living tissues through carbon dioxide, which is rst absorbed by plants. As long as a plant or animal is alive, carbon-14 is maintained in the living organism at a constant level. Once the organism dies, however, carbon-14 decays according to the equation A A0e

0.000124t

where A is the amount of carbon-14 present after t years and A0 is the amount present at time t 0. If 1,000 milligrams of carbon-14 are present at the start, how many milligrams will be present in (A) 10,000 years? (B) 50,000 years?

SOLUTIONS

Substituting A0

0.000124t

Figure 3

1,000

500

t

50,000

Z Figure 3

10,000:

Calculate to three signicant digits.

More will be said about carbon-14 dating in Exercise 5-5, where we will be interested in solving for t after being given information about A and A0.

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