Tap 514- 2: Half Life

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TAP 514- 2: Half Life
The half-life of strontium-90 is 27 years. The half-life of sodium-24 is 15 hours.
1. Sketch two curves on one set of axes to show how the number of atoms of each change with time.

Two samples are prepared, one containing 1020 atoms of strontium and the other containing 1020 atoms of sodium.

2. Which of the two samples has the highest activity?

3. A sample of iodine-131, with half-life 8.04 days, has an activity of 7.4 x 107 becquerel.

Calculate the activity of the sample after 4 weeks?

4. 234Th has a half life of 24.1 days.

(a) What fraction of a sample remains after 96.4 days?

(b) What fraction of a sample remains after 241 days?

Answers and worked solutions

2. Sodium, since a longer half-life means the source is less active.

3. First find the number of half-lives in 4 weeks:

The activity will be:


(a) 96.4/24.1=4 so 4 half lives so (1/2)4 = =1/16 or .0625

(b) 241/24.1=10 so 10 half lives (1/2)10 = 1/1024 or 9.8 x 10-4
External references

This activity is taken from Advancing Physics chapter 10, 20S which was an adaptation of Revised Nuffield Advanced Physics question 15 section F.

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