# Half-life in Nuclear Chemistry: A Lucid Explanation

The half-life of radioactive elements is an integral part of nuclear chemistry. This time occurs naturally in some of the radioactive elements, while it could be artificially stimulated in some other elements. This article gives a brief introduction to this concept in nuclear chemistry.

Maya Pillai

Last Updated: Mar 6, 2018

**Definition in Nuclear Chemistry**

The half-life of a radioactive element is the time required for the element to decay to half of the original amount. For instance, it can also be seen as the time period during which half of the atom of a radioactive element undergoes a nuclear process to be reduced into a lighter element.

**Formula**

As mentioned above, half-life is a decay process of a radioactive element. Each and every radioactive element has its own value for half-life.

^{238}U has a half-life of 4.5 billion years. That is,

^{238}U would take 4.5 billion years to decay into other lighter elements.

^{14}C is 5730 years, and this is very helpful in geological dating of any archaeological material.

**AE = Ao * 0.5**

^{t/t1/2}Where,

AE = Amount of substance left

Ao = Original amount of substance

t = Time elapsed

t

_{1/2}= Half-life of the substance

^{14}C, how much of this radioactive element would remain after 2000 years? The half-life of

^{14}C is 5730 years.

**AE = 157 × 0.5**

^{2000/5730}**AE = 157 × 0.5**

^{0.35}**AE = 157 × 0.7845**

**AE = 123.1665 ≈ 123**

The amount of

^{14}C left after 2,000 years would be 123 grams.

2. A beta radiation emits more neutrons than protons and has a negative charge.

3. In a gamma radiation, the nucleus emits rays in the gamma part of the spectrum. Another interesting fact is a gamma ray neither has mass nor a charge.