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decay curve


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A graphic representation of the rate of decay of a radioactive isotope of an element. Radioactive disintegration is exponential. If half the parent nuclide remains after one time increment, one-quarter will remain after the next (identical) time increment, and so on. A plot of the surviving parent atoms against time in half-lives (see decay constant) gives a decay curve that approaches the zero line asymptotically. In theory it should never attain zero.

Subjects: Earth Sciences and Geography — Ecology and Conservation.


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