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A2 Physics half life question


Well-known member
Jan 26, 2012
Jimson asks over on Yahoo Answers

I've got some A2 physics homework and unfortunately i can't seem to do the first question :
The question is: 61Co has a half life of 100 minutes. how long will it take for the radioactive isotope to reduce to 80% of the initial value?

The answer is 32 minutes, but of course i'll need the workings before it to actually prove i can do the question.

Thank you for any help given! (if any is anyway).

The key idea is that after 100 minutes 1/2 remains after 200 minutes 1/4 remains so t
he fraction remaining after \(t\) minutes is:


So if \(80\%\) remains we need to solve:


which we do by taking logs (the base is unimportant as long as we use the sane base throughout):

\[\log(0.8)= -\; \frac{t}{100} \log(2)\]


\[t=- \; \frac{\log(0.8)}{\log(2)} \times 100\]