The isotope sodium-20 has how many protons?

1 Answer
Jan 3, 2017




The most important thing to remember here is that all the isotopes of a given element must have the same number of protons.

For a given element, the only difference between its isotopes is given by the number of neutrons that are located inside the nucleus. The number of protons is always the same for all isotopes that belong to a given element.

In your case, a sodium-20 isotope must have #11# protons inside its nucleus because that's how many protons are needed in order to have an atom of sodium.

An atom that has #11# protons inside its nucleus is an atom of sodium.

Now, the name of the isotope contains its mass number, which si the number of protons and neutrons located inside the nucleus.

#color(blue)(ul(color(black)("mass number" = "no. of protons" + "no. of neutrons")))#

In this case, you can say that a sodium-20 isotope contains

#"20 protons "# and #" "20 - 11 = "9 neutrons"#

inside its nucleus.