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Procedure To Calculate The Mass Number When Given A Number Of Protons And Neutrons

Referencing Styles : MLA | Pages : 1
  • Course Code: PCH 340
  • Course Title: Procedure To Calculate The Mass Number When Given A Number Of Protons And Neutrons
  • University: Fiji National University
  • Country: US

A proton is a stable sub atomic particle. It has a positive charge. The positive charge has a magnitude to a unit of electron charge and a rest mass of 1.67262 * 10-27 kg. It is 1836 times the mass of an electron. Protons along with electrical neutral particles called neutrons make up all atomic nuclei leaving out only the hydrogen nucleus. Hydrogen nucleus contains only one single proton. Each nucleus of a given chemical element has the same number of protons. This defines the atomic number of an element and determines the place of the element in the periodic table. When the number of protons in a nucleus equals the number of electrons orbiting the nucleus, then the atom is electrically neutral. Wilhelm Wien in the year 1898 and J.J. Thomson in the year 1910 identified a positive charge particle equal to the mass of hydrogen atom. In the year 1919, Ernest Rutherford showed that nitrogen under alpha – particle bombardment ejects what appear to be hydrogen nuclei. In the year 1920, he had accepted the hydrogen nucleus as an elementary particle, calling it proton. Later in the 20th century, high – energy particle – physics studies refined the structural understanding of the nature of the proton within the group of subatomic particles. Protons and neutrons have been shown to be made up of smaller particles composed of three elementary units of matter called as quarks. Protons from ionized hydrogen are given high velocities in particle accelerators and are mostly used as projectiles to study and produce nuclear reactions. Protons are the main ingredient of primary cosmic rays and are among the products of some types of artificial nuclear reactions.

 Protons are denote by the symbol p or p+. protons and neutrons, each with a masses of approx.. one atomic mass unit , are together called as nucleons. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of every atom. They are important part of the nucleus and is called as atomic number. Atomic number is represented by the symbol Z. Since every element has a unique number of protons, each element has its own unique atomic number. At very low temperatures, free protons would bind to electrons. But, the character of such bond protons remains same and they remain protons. A fast proton moving through matter will slow by interactions with nuclei and electrons, until it is capture by the electron cloud of an atom. This results in a protonated atom, which is a chemical compound of hydrogen. In vacuum when free electrons are present, a very slow proton may pick up a single free electron, becoming a neutral hydrogen atom, which is chemically free radicle. These free hydrogen atoms tend to react chemically along with many other types of atoms at a very low energy.

Neutron is a neutral subatomic particle. It comprises of every atomic nucleus leaving the ordinary hydrogen. It has no electric charge. It has mass of 1.67493 * 10-27 kg, which is marginally greater than that of the electron. Neutrons and protons are commonly termed as nucleons. They are bound collectively in the dense inner core of an atom. They account for 99.9 % of the mass of the atom. In the year 1932, James Chadwick an English physicist discovered neutron. Various elements when bombarded by neutrons undergo fission. It is a type of nuclear reaction, that occurs when the nucleus of a heavy element is divided into two equally small parts.

The mass number (A) is the total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom. The mass number is used to organize the chart of nuclides. Every chemical element has a different number of protons, accompanied with different number of neutrons. Both protons and neutrons weight approximately 1 atomic mass unit, so the mass number is the approximate mass of a given isotope of an element.

The mass number is different from atomic number (Z). Atomic number is the total number of protons in one particular atom. The mass number is put in a superscript before the element.  Example: 7 14 N, here the mass number is 14 with the number of protons being 7. The atomic number is 7.

Now if we need to calculate the mass number of a compound CO2. We first need to know the mass number of each element in the compound. Here we see carbon has a atomic number of 6. So its mass number will be 12. Atomic number of Oxygen is 8, so its mass number will be 16. So as per the equation the calculation will be [ 12 + {2*16}] which will be equals to 44. This above procedure would be followed for any compound out there.

To calculate the atomic mass of a single atom of an element, add up the mass of neutrons and protons. For example, to find the atomic mass of an isotope of carbon that has7 neutrons. From the periodic table one can find out that, the atomic number of carbon is 6, which is equal to the number of protons. Therefore, the atomic mass of the atom is the mas of the protons plus mass of the neutrons. Here it is 6 + 7 = 13.

The best place to look for atomic mass number of an element is the periodic table. It is shown under the symbol of an element. In many versions of the periodic table, the number contains decimal fraction. The reason for this is that the number displayed is the relative atomic weight, which is derived from all the naturally occurring isotopes of the element weighted by the percentage of each that occurs. Isotopes are formed when the number of neutrons in an element is more or less the number of protons. Some of these isotopes, like carbon – 13 are stable, while some like Carbon - 14, are unstable and decay over time to a more stable state.

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