4. How does the stability of an isotope relate to its abundance in nature? Why might this be the case?

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1 Isotopes and Atomic Mass: Modeling Relative Atomic Mass Name Go to the University of Colorado Boulder PhET website at Click Play with Sims Seek and click on Chemistry on the left-hand panel Find and click on Isotopes and Atomic Mass Hit RUN NOW 1. To begin, select the Make Isotopes tab and expand the Symbol and Abundance in Nature menus. 2. Add neutrons to the hydrogen isotope. How does adding neutrons affect the isotope symbol? 3. As neutrons are added, comment on the stability of the isotope. 4. How does the stability of an isotope relate to its abundance in nature? Why might this be the case? 5. Complete the following table. This information will be important later. Isotope Symbol Abundance in Nature Hydrogen -1 Protium Hydrogen -2 Deuterium Hydrogen -3 Tritium Mass Number Atomic Mass (amu) 6. Next, select the Mix Isotopes tab and make sure your screen looks like this before proceeding. 7. Drag hydrogen isotopes (purple and green atoms) into the black box. Notice how the percent composition and average atomic mass data changes as you add varying numbers of isotopes. Hit Reset All. In order to discover the relationship between percent composition and average atomic mass, it is helpful to be more systematic when choosing the number of atoms in the simulation. Complete the following table by adding purple and green atoms to the black box. In order to add larger amounts, Click More and use the slider bar or numerically enter data. # Hydrogen-1 # Hydrogen-2 % Hydrogen-1 % Hydrogen-2 Average Atomic Mass (amu)

2 # Hydrogen-1 # Hydrogen-2 % Hydrogen-1 % Hydrogen-2 Average Atomic Mass (amu) The average atomic mass for hydrogen is listed as amu on the periodic table. Predict the combination of purple and green atoms required to achieve this mass. 9. Check your prediction by clicking on Nature s mix of isotopes. 10. Using Nature s mix of isotopes percentages and the relationship: (Mass Number of Isotope 1)(% abundance 1) + (Mass Number of Isotope 2)(% abundance 2) = relative Calculate the relative atomic mass of hydrogen: Hydrogen 3 is not included in the calculation of relative atomic mass, because its natural abundance is very small. Other very unstable radioactive isotopes have fleeting existence or are not found in nature and are not included in relative atomic mass calculations, either. 11. Look at the table you completed in Step 5 as well as the information on this page. What conclusions can you draw between abundance in nature, percent composition, and average atomic mass? 12. Boron has an average atomic mass of amu (as given on the periodic table). Which isotope of boron do you think is most abundant: boron-10 or boron-11? Explain your answer. Check your response by using the sim to select boron and clicking on Nature s mix of isotopes.

3 13. Bromine s two major isotopes are bromine-79 and bromine-81. Based on the average atomic mass given for bromine on the periodic table ( amu), what can you conclude about the percent abundance/composition of the two isotopes in nature? Identifying the most abundant isotope from relative atomic mass data of elements with two isotopes: 1) Using a Periodic Table of the Elements, record the relative atomic mass of helium, in a.m.u.: 2) Toggle the helium symbol on the Periodic Table found on the simulation page. a. Mass a helium 3 atom and record its mass: b. Mass a helium - 4 atom and records its mass: c. Which isotope would you expect to be the most abundant? d. Estimate the natural abundances, as percentages, of helium 3 and helium 4 e. Click on Nature s mix of isotopes to find the observed answers. Then, click on Reset All. 3) Using a Periodic Table of the Elements, find and record the atomic mass of lithium, in a.m.u.: a. Predict which isotope of lithium should be most abundant: b. Click on Nature s mix of isotopes to find the observed answers. c. Using the relationship: (Mass Number of Isotope 1)(% abundance 1) + (Mass Number of Isotope 2)( % abundance 2) = relative Calculate the relative atomic mass of lithium: d. Repeat the calculation using the relative mass of each isotope, in a.m.u., found by massing one atom of each isotope. (relative mass of Isotope 1)(% abundance 1) + (relative mass of Isotope 2)(% abundance 2) = relative

4 e. What difference (error) between to the calculated relative atomic masses using the mass number verses using the relative mass of each isotope? Is it significant? NOTE: The accuracy of relative atomic mass estimates obtained by the use of isotope mass numbers and natural abundances increases as the mass number of isotopes increases. Beryllium 4) Toggle Beryllium in the Periodic Table of the Elements on the simulation. a. How many isotopes are shown? Why? b. What is the natural abundance (percent composition) of the isotope? c. Why aren t other isotopes shown? 5) Identify the four other elements, among the first eighteen elements with a single isotope? a. b. c. d. CHALLENGE QUESTIONS complete Band of Stability with Build An Atom before working on this part Using relative atomic mass and mass numbers to model Nature s mix: 6) Using a Periodic Table of the Elements, find and record the relative atomic mass of nitrogen: 7) To find an estimate of the relative abundance of the two nitrogen isotopes, we will modify the relationship: (Mass Number of Isotope 1)(% abundance 1) + (Mass Number of Isotope 2)(% abundance 2) = relative atomic 100 mass Let: the abundance of isotope 1 = x, and the abundance of isotope 2 = 100 x; then: (Mass Number of Isotope 1) (x) + (Mass Number of Isotope 2)(100 - x) = 100 relative atomic mass Using the relative atomic mass of nitrogen and the mass numbers of nitrogen -14 and nitrogen-15, determine the estimated relative abundances (percent composition) of both isotopes. 8) Assume you have a total of 100 atoms. Click the More button and place the relative number of nitrogen - 14 and nitrogen -15 atoms indicated by your calculated percentages in the virtual balance. 9) Record your My mix of isotopes relative atomic mass: Check your work in Nature s mix of isotopes.

5 Relative Atomic Mass with three or more isotopes: 10) The relative atomic mass of an element with three or more isotopes is the sum of the products of the isotope relative atomic mass (or the mass number, as an approximation) and the natural abundances (or, percent composition). As a check for accuracy, the sum of these products should be essentially 100%. 11) On the Periodic Table in the simulation, toggle magnesium. 12) Using a Periodic Table of the Elements, find and record the relative atomic mass of magnesium: 13) Predict which is the most abundant isotope on this mixture: NOTE - A word of caution: If the relative atomic mass is close to the central mass number, you cannot safely conclude that the middle isotope is most abundant. By chance, large percentages of high and low mass numbered isotopes might result in a weighed relative atomic mass close to the central isotope mass, leading to an incorrect prediction. 14) Without looking at Nature s mix of isotopes, mix the three isotopes until you arrive at a close number for the relative atomic mass. If you need more atoms, up to 99, press More and refine your mix. Record your predicted percentages: Predicted Percentages Nature s Mix of Isotopes Percentages Magnesium 24 Magnesium 25 Magnesium 26 Mathematical Reasoning: a) Is it possible to have a relative atomic mass less than 24 or more than 26? (Yes/No) Explain. b) Why is your My mix predicted percentage different than Nature s mix, even when the average relative atomic mass numbers are very close? c) If, at the start of the experiment, you knew relative atomic mass of magnesium and that the percent composition of magnesium -24 was 78.99%, show the equation that you would use to calculate the two remaining percentages. d) Test your equation to find the percent composition of magnesium 25 and magnesium 26. Show work.

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