Radiocarbon dating sample preparation, define your samples
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The precision decreases with increasing sample age. When the visible contaminants have already been removed, the samples for carbon dating are then reduced in size by an applicable method to increase the surface area before further pretreatment.
The archaeological artifacts and geological specimens sent to labs for radiocarbon dating are usually found embedded or buried with other materials that may have affected their radiocarbon content. If you require detailed information about a specific pretreatment method or have questions about a particular sample type, please contact us.
Important Note on Pretreatment — It is important to understand the radiocarbons dating sample preparation which are going to be applied to samples since they directly affect the final result.
Labeling of bone samples with animal glue is an example of artificial contamination. Any carbon-containing material that affects the carbon 14 content of any given sample is therefore a contaminant.
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Hot samples are samples with 14 C concentrations above natural levels. The sample is then washed in distilled water and crushed, or milled, to increase the surface area for subsequent pretreatment. Bone is acid washed in dilute HCl to isolate the bone protein, filtered, then gelatinised to remove contaminants.
Radiocarbon Dating 2nd ed.
In some literature, this method is called acid-base-acid ABA. This results in a coating of filamentous carbon usually referred to as graphite on the powdered catalyst—typically cobalt or iron.
The resulting gas was passed through hot copper oxide to convert any carbon monoxide to CO 2and then dried to remove any water vapour. Chemical pretreatment is done on samples for carbon 14 dating to further remove impurities. This is then converted to lithium carbide, and then to acetylene, and finally to benzene.
There are also radiocarbons dating sample preparation when carbon dating labs do not employ AAA method but only acid washings. Limestone is of geological origin and would be much older than any archaeological sample; hence, inclusion of limestone during the carbon 14 dating would make the sample older than its true age. If you are not sure about a possible 14 C contamination of your lab, we can provide help. The application of radiocarbon dating to groundwater analysis can offer a technique to predict the over-pumping of the aquifer before it becomes contaminated or overexploited.
Solvent extraction may be necessary to remove conservatives or glues. Both inorganic and organic materials are converted into CO 2: Shells, rocks, and bone samples are pulverized using a mortar and pestle.
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