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Abundancy of Uranium 235 when the earth was formed.

  1. Nov 8, 2009 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    The Earth is about 4.5 billion years old. If 235U is 0.65% abundant today, how abundant was it when the Earth formed? Note, in this case abundancy is defined as the ratio of Uranium 235 to Uranium 238


    2. Relevant equations
    R=N(lambda)
    N=N0e^-lambda(t)
    Half Life = ln(2)/lambda



    3. The attempt at a solution
    I am really unsure how to do this problem. I tried reworking the above equations but I was not able to get the correct answer. I need a little help getting started.
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Nov 8, 2009 #2
    In your second equation, you can divied by N0 to give N/N0. What would this quantity represent? Think about the total range of values this quantity could take on. Can N be negative? Can N>No?
     
  4. Nov 8, 2009 #3
    Well, N/N0 would be the probability that a nucleus has decayed in the given period of time which in this case would be -4.5billion years if we take t=0 to be the present. And can't N be larger than N0 if we are going back in time?
     
  5. Nov 8, 2009 #4
    ok, so i've worked it up to the point where I have the new abundancy = .0065e^(lambda238-lambda235)*4.5billion years but it's wrong. How can i fix this?
     
  6. Nov 8, 2009 #5
    Got it wrong so now I got an 80 on my HW. Thanks for nothing.
     
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