A mixture of two radioactive elements

PIA17841A mixture contains two radioactive elements with half lives of 800 and 1600 years respectively. If the relative proportion of radioactive elements is initially 1:1, what is their relative proportion after 1600 years?

Image credit: NASA/JPL-Caltech/CXC/SAO/ Radioactive Core of a Dead Star

Solution.

The half life of a radioactive element describes how long it takes for half of the atoms in a given mass to decay.
So, at the end of 1600 years, 1/4 and 1/2 of the radioactive elements remain.
Now, let’s calculate the relative proportion
1/4 : 1/2 = 1/2

 

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