How do different isotopes of the same element differ?

2 Answers
Aug 15, 2017



Two or more than two kinds of atom which have same proton number but different neutron number so that the mass number changes e.g #C^12# and #C^14#.So isotopes of same element differ.

Aug 15, 2017

Isotopes differ in the number of neutrons in the nucleus


all isotopes have the same number of protons and the same number of electrons. Because the electron structure is the same isotopes have the same chemical properties.

What is different is the number of neutrons, The different number of neutrons all cause a difference in the atomic weight or mass of the atoms. The difference in the ratio between the number of protons (the number of protons stay the same) and the number neutrons creates a difference in the nuclear reactions of the isotopes.

# U_92^235# is highly radioactive with 92 protons and 143 neutrons. This is an unstable ratio of positive protons and neutral neutrons and the nucleus of the atoms split apart making #U_92^235# useful in making atomic bombs.

# U_92^238# while also radioactive is much more stable. This isotope had 92 protons and 146 neutrons. #U_92^238# has a half life of about 4.5 billion years.

What is different about isotopes is the number of neutrons. The difference in the number of neutrons also causes a difference in the mass and nuclear reactions of the isotopes.