Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Half-life of tritium

  1. Jan 15, 2007 #1
    Question: The half-life of tritium (hydrogen-3) is 12.3 yr. If 46.9 mg of tritium is released from a nuclear power plant during the course of an accident, what mass of this nuclide will remain after 24.6 yr? (Significant figures are important)

    My answer: 11.7 mg. I came to this answer by recognizing that 24.6 yr is the duration of 2 half lives. Thus, 1/4 of the original amount will be present. Dividing 46.9 by 4 yields 11.725; however, I must use the correct number of significant figures (3, I believe), so my final answer is 11.7 mg.

    Please tell me what I am doing wrong, because my answer has been marked wrong and I cannot figure out why.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jan 15, 2007 #2


    User Avatar
    Staff Emeritus
    Science Advisor
    Gold Member

    Your answer is correct. I would also try 11.65mg - just in case they weren't being careful with sig figs.
  4. Jan 15, 2007 #3


    User Avatar

    Staff: Mentor

    Moved to homework forum.
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook