How many neutrons are found in the unstable isotope phosphorus-36?

1 Answer
Feb 18, 2016

Answer:

The atomic number, #Z#, of phosphorus is #15#. Thus, there MUST be 21 neutrons in #""^36P#.

Explanation:

Atomic mass is ALWAYS determined by the number of nuclides, massive nuclear particles (protons or neutrons). Of course, the number of protons (#=Z#) determines atomic identity. Thus, I know for certain that this isotope has #15# fundamental, positively charged massive particles in its nucleus. Why? Because it is a phosphorus atom, for which #Z# (the atomic number) #=# #15#.

To account for the given atomic mass, there must be 21 neutrons in the nucleus. This is possibly a very short-lived isotope. Nucular chemistry and physics are not my strong suites.