zn1
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Hi guys, I know this is more related to Chemistry, but I came across this whilst studying Physics, also the Physics help section is a lot more active than Chemistry.

So, my understanding of Isotopes is basically the name given to an atom when it has a different number of neutrons to protons? Similar to how it's an ion when it has a different number of electrons to protons?

Well, I came across Hyrdrogen, and apparently that has 3 naturally occurring isotopes: Protium, Deuterium and Tritium.

So the first thing that I didn't follow was how could Hydrogen have 3 isotopes? I really don't understand it. So are protium deuterium and tritium all elements which make up hydrogen? if that's the case, I've looked up these three 'isotopes' and only two of them appear to be isotopes to me? Protium has 1 proton and 0 neutrons, Deuterium has 1 proton and 1 neutron (This isnt an isotope??) and Tritium has 1 proton and 2 neutrons.

Ye, its really thrown me off. I thought I understood this but clearly I'm further lost than I'd thought...

Any help would be very appreciated
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Joinedup
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(Original post by zn1)
Hi guys, I know this is more related to Chemistry, but I came across this whilst studying Physics, also the Physics help section is a lot more active than Chemistry.

So, my understanding of Isotopes is basically the name given to an atom when it has a different number of neutrons to protons? Similar to how it's an ion when it has a different number of electrons to protons?

Well, I came across Hyrdrogen, and apparently that has 3 naturally occurring isotopes: Protium, Deuterium and Tritium.

So the first thing that I didn't follow was how could Hydrogen have 3 isotopes? I really don't understand it. So are protium deuterium and tritium all elements which make up hydrogen? if that's the case, I've looked up these three 'isotopes' and only two of them appear to be isotopes to me? Protium has 1 proton and 0 neutrons, Deuterium has 1 proton and 1 neutron (This isnt an isotope??) and Tritium has 1 proton and 2 neutrons.

Ye, its really thrown me off. I thought I understood this but clearly I'm further lost than I'd thought...

Any help would be very appreciated
Well one atom of hydrogen can only be one isotope - but in a bulk sample you'd extect to find some of each.
It'll all behave chemically as Hydrogen because the chemical behaviour of an element is determined by it's electrons and the isotopes of an element all have the same number of electrons.

You'll sometimes see tables of natural abundance
http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~massspe...mass_abund.pdf
which will give you the ratio between the different isotopes - unless stated this will be on Earth. The ratios are different on different solar system bodies and it's something planetary scientists are interested in.
http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/55118-deu...-solar-system/

I would also note that afaik Protium hasn't really caught on as a name and most people just call Hydrogen-1 'Hydrogen' (certainly both ESA and the University of Alberta seem to judging by those links)
Deuterium and Tritium are in widespread use for Hydrogen-2 and Hydrogen-3 though.
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zn1
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(Original post by Joinedup)
Well one atom of hydrogen can only be one isotope - but in a bulk sample you'd extect to find some of each.
It'll all behave chemically as Hydrogen because the chemical behaviour of an element is determined by it's electrons and the isotopes of an element all have the same number of electrons.

You'll sometimes see tables of natural abundance
http://www.chem.ualberta.ca/~massspe...mass_abund.pdf
which will give you the ratio between the different isotopes - unless stated this will be on Earth. The ratios are different on different solar system bodies and it's something planetary scientists are interested in.
http://sci.esa.int/rosetta/55118-deu...-solar-system/

I would also note that afaik Protium hasn't really caught on as a name and most people just call Hydrogen-1 'Hydrogen' (certainly both ESA and the University of Alberta seem to judging by those links)
Deuterium and Tritium are in widespread use for Hydrogen-2 and Hydrogen-3 though.
Thanks a lot! I've got my head around it now.
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