As with chemical reactions, the nuclear reactions are not instantaneous and evolve on differing times (ranging from billions of years to microseconds). Also, as with chemical reactions, nuclear reactions follow comparable rate laws.
- Half-Lives and Radioactive Decay Kinetics
- Another approach to describing reaction rates is based on the time required for the concentration of a reactant to decrease to one-half its initial value. This period of time is called the half-life of the reaction, written as t1/2. Thus the half-life of a reaction is the time required for the reactant concentration to decrease from [A]0 to [A]0/2. If two reactions have the same order, the faster reaction will have a shorter half-life, and the slower reaction will have a longer half-life.