Isotope

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Atoms with the same atomic number but different mass numbers are called isotopes.

Carbon isotopes

There are two types of carbon atoms that are found in nature. We call them carbon-12 and carbon-13. Using symbols, carbon-12 and carbon-13 can be written as follows:

carbon-12 carbon-13
Carbon12.gif Carbon13.gif
The symbol describes carbon-12 as follows:
  • "C" indicates the atom is Carbon
  • Z = 6 indicates carbon-12 has 6 protons
  • A = 12 indicates that the mass number is 12
  • number of neutron = 12 - 6 = 6 neutrons
The symbol describes carbon-13 as follows:
  • "C" indicates the atom is Carbon
  • Z = 6 indicates carbon-13 has 6 protons
  • A = 13 indicates that the mass number is 13
  • number of neutron = 13 - 6 = 7 neutrons
  • carbon-12 and carbon-13 are atoms that have the same atomic number but different mass numbers. Carbon-12 and carbon-13 are called isotopes.
  • carbon-12 has 6 neutrons and carbon-13 has 7 neutrons.
  • isotopes of the same element (i.e. such as carbon-12 and carbon-13) have similar chemical properties.


Content suitability

BCIT courses: CHEM 0011