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What is an Isotope?



What is an Isotope

Atoms made the matter and complex array of the subatomic particles make the complex. We will consider just three of the particles: electrons that are negatively charges, neutrons that have no charge and protons that are positively charged. Now, each of the element has the protons in fixed number, which can’t be changed unless the different element is created. For example: if proton is added to the sulfur’s atom, then it will get heavier and becomes the atom of the chlorine. If the number of the neutrons is changed in the atom, then it is not going to have an effect on the outward appearance or chemical properties and completely no impact on atomic mass. It can have the extreme effect on the element’s atomic stability. If atom of potassium is taken by us, which is having 39 protons and then one more is added to it then the atom will decay radioactively by becoming unstable.

Every combination of the element having the varied number of neutrons is termed as an Isotope. Radioactive Isotopes decay or disintegrate in predictable manner and at the rate that is specific, in order to get other isotopes created. Here, the radioactive isotope is termed as parent whereas the isotope which is created by decay is termed as daughter. Decaying of radioactive isotope takes place at the proportional rate that remains constant, to the remaining number of the radioactive atoms. The speed of decay could be described in simple way, all you have to do is just to check the time that take is taken for decaying of radioactive parent’s half of atoms and forming of daughter element. This is termed as half-life. Various processes, specially the one where the rock melts, will lead the isotopes present in rock to be redistributed. When the solidification of rock gets started, it is known to be as starting stopwatch. Now, by knowing the amount present of the daughter and parent isotopes, it could easily be determined by the scientists that when stopwatch get started.

Let’s have a look at the radioactive isotope’s brief treatment:

Each of the chemical element possess either one or more than one radioactive Isotopes. Let’s take hydrogen as an example, it is one of the lightest elements and possess 3 isotopes that has mass numbers ranging 1, 2 and 3. Now, hydrogen-3 (tritium) is the only radioactive isotope, with remaining two of them being stable. If we see, then radioactive isotopes which is 1000 and more in numbers present in different elements are the ones which are known. 50 among them, which is an approx. number, could be found in the nature, remaining are created artificially in the form of direct products of the nuclear reactions. The ones which are indirectly produced are the radioactive descendants of these specific products. Radioactive isotopes also have various other vital applications. If we talk about medicine, then cobalt-60 is used extensively, as the source of radiation to keep the cancer development in check. Many of the radioactive isotopes play the role of a tracer for research related to the metabolic process as well as for the diagnostic purposes. Various types of Radioactive Isotopes are also used in industry, to measure the thickness of plastic or metal sheets.

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