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When an organism dies it ceases to replenish carbon in its tissues and the decay of carbon 14 to nitrogen 14 changes the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14.Experts can compare the ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in dead material to the ratio when the organism was alive to estimate the date of its death.Archaeologists use the exponential, radioactive decay of carbon 14 to estimate the death dates of organic material.The stable form of carbon is carbon 12 and the radioactive isotope carbon 14 decays over time into nitrogen 14 and other particles.Radiocarbon dating can be used on samples of bone, cloth, wood and plant fibers.
At any particular time all living organisms have approximately the same ratio of carbon 12 to carbon 14 in their tissues.
A leaf is a perfect example of a biodegradable product – it is made in the spring, used by the plant for photosynthesis in the summer, drops to the ground in autumn and assimilated into the soil to nourish the plant for the next season. If a fabric or product is biodegradable, you can determine several things.
For a start, it means that the material is made of natural materials, such as wood, cotton, or linen, or artificial materials that are similar enough to plant and animal matter.
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