isotopes

an example hydrogen isotopes

Hydrogen is an example of an element that has isotopes. Three isotopes of hydrogen are modeled in the Figure hydrogen. Some hydrogen atoms have one neutron as well. These atoms are the isotope named deuterium. Other hydrogen atoms have two neutrons. These atoms are the isotope named tritium. Q: The mass number of an atom is the sum of its protons and neutrons. What is the mass number of each isotope of hydrogen shown above? A: The mass numbers are: hydrogen = 1, deuterium = 2, and tritium = 3.

what are isotopes

All atoms of the same element have the same number of protons, but some may have different numbers of neutrons. For example, all carbon atoms have six protons, and most have six neutrons as well. But some carbon atoms have seven or eight neutrons instead of the usual six. Atoms of the same element that differ in their numbers of neutrons are called isotopes. Many isotopes occur naturally. Usually one or two isotopes of an element are the most stable and common. Different isotopes of an element generally have the same physical and chemical properties. Thats because they have the same numbers of protons and electrons. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:

stability of isotopes

Atoms need a certain ratio of neutrons to protons to have a stable nucleus. Having too many or too few neutrons relative to protons results in an unstable, or radioactive, nucleus that will sooner or later break down to a more stable form. This process is called radioactive decay. Many isotopes have radioactive nuclei, and these isotopes are referred to as radioisotopes. When they decay, they release particles that may be harmful. This is why radioactive isotopes are dangerous and why working with them requires special suits for protection. The isotope of carbon known as carbon-14 is an example of a radioisotope. In contrast, the carbon isotopes called carbon-12 and carbon-13 are stable.

naming isotopes

For most elements other than hydrogen, isotopes are named for their mass number. For example, carbon atoms with the usual 6 neutrons have a mass number of 12 (6 protons + 6 neutrons = 12), so they are called carbon-12. Carbon atoms with 7 neutrons have an atomic mass of 13 (6 protons + 7 neutrons = 13). These atoms are the isotope called carbon-13. Q: Some carbon atoms have 8 neutrons. What is the name of this isotope of carbon? A: Carbon atoms with 8 neutrons have an atomic mass of 14 (6 protons + 8 neutrons = 14), so this isotope of carbon is named carbon-14.

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instructional diagrams

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questions

all isotopes form naturally.

a. true

-->  b. false

all isotopes are radioactive.

a. true

-->  b. false

deuterium is an isotope of

a) oxygen.

b) helium.

c) carbon.

-->  d) hydrogen.

how many neutrons does the isotope in question 6 have?

-->  a) one

b) two

c) three

d) four

diagram questions

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