what is an isotope
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- Thread Starter
- 13-02-2018 19:18
- 13-02-2018 19:29
An element with different forms. They have the same number of protons and electrons but different numbers of neutrons.
- 13-02-2018 19:31
- 13-02-2018 19:37
Isotopes of an element are atoms with DIFFERENT MASS NUMBERS due to the SAME NUMBER OF PROTONS but DIFFERENT NUMBERS OF NEUTRONS
- 13-02-2018 19:47
Lets say you have an atom.
Now, what makes this atom this atom is how it reacts to other atoms i.e, it's bonding. That's determined by the number of electrons, and that's determined by the number of protons. If you change the proton number, you change the electron number, and therefore the bonding.
An isotope has a different amount of neutrons- this affects it, but not at levels you need for our GCSE's. As it had basically no effect on proton number, it doesn't affect electron number, and therefore doesn't affect bonding,
So, most carbon atoms have 6 neutrons and 6 protons. Add or take away protons, and it'll get unstable- but if it doesn't collapse, you've transformed it into another element. Add or subtract neutrons, and it can get unstable- but it's the same element.
So, a carbon with six neutrons and six protons is carbon-12, and a carbon with 8 neutrons and 6 protons is carbon-14. Carbon 14 is a deviation from the normal number of neutrons, so it's an isotope. But it still has the same number of protons, so it's a carbon isotope- and still the same element- with a different atomic weight.