How to Know If an Element Is an Isotope?

How to Know If an Element Is an Isotope
••• Emilija Randjelovic/iStock/GettyImages

An isotope is an element that has a different amount of neutrons than its standard atomic mass. Some isotopes can be relatively unstable, and thus they can give off radiation as the atom decays. Neutrons are particles with a neutral charge that are found in an atom's nucleus alongside protons. Neutrons help give the atom its mass and structure; on the periodic table of elements, the atomic mass number is the sum of the protons and neutrons.

    Find out how many neutrons the given atom of the element has. This information likely will need to be given; the ability to examine an individual atom is extremely difficult and costly.

    Look up at the atom on the periodic table of elements and find out what its atomic mass is.

    Subtract the number of protons from the atomic mass. This is the number of neutrons that the regular version of the atom has. If the number of neutrons in the given atom is different, than it is an isotope.

Related Articles

How to Calculate Subatomic Particles
How to Find Out If an Element Is an Ion
How to Find Isotopes
How to Find the Mass Number of Bromine With 46 Neutrons
How to Write an Isotope
How to Find Relative Mass
How to Calculate Particle Concentration
Which Elements Are Isotopes?
What Is an Unstable Atom?
The Difference Between Atoms, Ions, Molecules and...
What is Atomic Number?
How to Find Isotope Mass
How to Find the Number of Atoms in an Element
What Determines Whether an Ion Will Form?
How to Make a Silicon Atom Project
What Orbits the Center of an Atom?
How to Find the Number of Neutrons, Protons & Electrons...
How to Find an Oxidation Number
How to Calculate Moles From Grams
How to Find the Number of Neutrons in an Atom