Radiometric dating is based upon the scientific principle of
The phenomenon we know as heat is simply the jiggling around of atoms and their components, so in principle a high enough temperature could cause the components of the core to break out.However, the temperature required to do this is in in the millions of degrees, so this cannot be achieved by any natural process that we know about.The second way that a nucleus could be disrupted is by particles striking it.However, the nucleus has a strong positive charge and the electron shells have a strong negative charge. Those that can decay are mesons and baryons, which include protons and neutrons; although decays can involve other particles such as photons, electrons, positrons, and neutrinos. Radiometric dating is a method of determining the age of an artifact by assuming that on average decay rates have been constant (see below for the flaws in that assumption) and measuring the amount of radioactive decay that has occurred.
"Atomic decays" are due to proton or neutron decays: either weakly, incrementing up or down the table of elements; or strongly, often splitting into smaller elements, one of which is often helium.Atoms themselves consist of a heavy central core called the nucleus surrounded by arrangements of electron shells, wherein there are different probabilities of precisely locating a certain number of electrons (depending on the element).One way that a nucleus could be disrupted is by particles striking it.Any incoming negative charge would be deflected by the electron shell and any positive charge that penetrated the electron shells would be deflected by the positive charge of the nucleus itself. "Decay" simply refers to a meson or baryon becoming another type of particle, as the number of a certain type of particle goes down or decays as they are converted.
This can happen due to one of three forces or "interactions": strong, electromagnetic, and weak, in order of decreasing strength.
However, the nucleus has a strong positive charge and the electron shells have a strong negative charge.