For instance, leaks in underground water pipes can be discovered by running some tritium-containing water through the pipes and then using a Geiger counter to locate any radioactive tritium subsequently present in the ground around the pipes.
Scientists were also able to use radiocarbon dating to show that the age of a mummified body found in the ice of the Alps was 5,300 y.Shroud of Turin In 1989, several groups of scientists used carbon-14 dating to demonstrate that the age of the Shroud of Turin was only 600–700 y.A tiny amount of carbon-14 is produced naturally in the upper reaches of the atmosphere, and living things incorporate some of it into their tissues, building up to a constant, although very low, level.Once a living thing dies, however, it no longer acquires carbon-14, and as time passes, the carbon-14 that was in the tissues decays.Radioactive isotopes are effective tracers because their radioactivity is easy to detect.
A is a substance that can be used to follow the pathway of that substance through some structure.
The half-life of radioactive isotopes is unaffected by any environmental factors, so the isotope acts like an internal clock.
For example, if a rock is analyzed and is found to contain a certain amount of uranium-235 and a certain amount of its daughter isotope, we can conclude that a certain fraction of the original uranium-235 has radioactively decayed.
Technetium-99 can also be used to test thyroid function.
Bones, the heart, the brain, the liver, the lungs, and many other organs can be imaged in similar ways by using the appropriate radioactive isotope.
Very little radioactive material is needed in these diagnostic techniques because the radiation emitted is so easy to detect.