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Atoms of carbon-12 have 6 neutrons, while atoms of carbon-14 contain 8 neutrons.

neutral atom would have the same number of protons and electrons, so a neutral atom of carbon-12 or carbon-14 would have 6 electrons.

As a result it is always undergoing natural radioactive decay while the abundances of the other isotopes are unchanged.

Before we get into the details of how radiometric dating methods are used, we need to review some preliminary concepts from chemistry.

Along with hydrogen, nitrogen, oxygen, phosphorus, and sulfur, carbon is a building block of biochemical molecules ranging from fats, proteins, and carbohydrates to active substances such as hormones.

All carbon atoms have a nucleus containing six protons.

Protons and neutrons make up the center (nucleus) of the atom, and electrons form shells around the nucleus.

The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom determines the element.