How are isotopes of an element are alike and how are they different?
An isotope only differs in the number of neutrons it has. All isotopes of an element have the same atomic number (the number of electrons/protons), therefore, they have the same number of electrons/protons and therefore similiar chemical properties.
The atoms of a chemical element can exist in different types. These are called isotopes. They have the same number of protons (and electrons), but different numbers of neutrons. Different isotopes of the same element have different masses.
- “Light” oxygen-16, with 8 protons and 8 neutrons, is the most common isotope found in nature, followed by much lesser amounts of “heavy” oxygen-18, with 8 protons and 10 neutrons.
- An isotope only differs in the number of neutrons it has. All isotopes of an element have the same atomic number (the number of electrons/protons), therefore, they have the same number of electrons/protons and therefore similiar chemical properties.
- Carbon-13 has 7 neutrons and carbon-12 has 6 neutrons. Carbon-12 is the most common isotope of carbon. Carbon-14 is radioactive and very rare. The symbols for the isotopes of carbon atoms shown here indicate they each have six protons but mass numbers of 14, 13 and 12.
Isotopes are atoms that have the same number of protons but different numbers of neutrons. An ion is an atom or molecule with a positive or negative charge. A cation is an ion with a positive charge. An anion is an ion with a negative charge.
- An atom is the smallest unit of matter. An element is made of three smaller subatomic particles. The subatomic particles are protons, neutrons, and electrons. The protons and neutrons make up the center of an atom, which is known as the nucleus.
- vote 18. Electrons and protons are charged particles. The electrons have negative charge, while protons have positive charge. A neutral atom is an atom where the charges of the electrons and the protons balance. Luckily, one electron has the same charge (with opposite sign) as a proton.
- The nucleus of this kind of atom is said to be stable. In some atoms the binding energy is not strong enough to hold the nucleus together, and the nuclei of these atoms are said to be unstable. Unstable atoms will lose neutrons and protons as they attempt to become stable.
All isotopes of a given element share the same atomic number, which is the number of protons in the nucleus. They also have the same number of electrons also. For examples, all the isotopes of oxygen have the same atomic number of 8, though they have different mass numbers-16, 17 and 18.
- Oxygen-16 (16O) is a stable isotope of oxygen, having 8 neutrons and 8 protons in its nucleus. It has a mass of15.99491461956 u. Oxygen-16 is the most abundant isotope of oxygen and accounts for 99.762% of oxygen's natural abundance.
- Nitrogen-14 is one of two stable (non-radioactive) isotopes of the chemical element nitrogen, which makes about 99.636% of natural nitrogen. Nitrogen-14 is one of the very few stable nuclides with both an odd number of protons and of neutrons (seven each).
- The three most stable isotopes of hydrogen: protium (A = 1), deuterium (A = 2), and tritium (A = 3).
Updated: 2nd October 2019