# Vanadium has two naturally occurring isotopes, 50-V with an atomic mass of 49.9472 amu and 51-V with an atomic mass of 50.9440. The atomic weight of vanadium is 50.9415. What is the percent abundance of the vanadium isotopes?

##### 1 Answer

#### Explanation:

The idea with elements that have **two** naturally occurring isotopes is that the *percent abundances* of those two isotopes **must** add up to give

In calculations, it is often easier to work with *decimal abundances*, which are simply percent abundances divided by

So, if you're working with decimal abundances, you can say for sure that if

#x + (1-x) = 1#

The decimal abundances of the two isotopes **must** add up to give

Now, an element's relative atomic mass is calculated by taking the **weighted average** of the atomic masses of its naturally occurring isotopes.

#color(blue)("relative atomic mass" = sum_i ("isotope"_i xx "abundance"_i))#

So, if we take

#49.9472 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("u"))) xx x + 50.9440 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("u"))) xx (1-x) = 50.9415 color(red)(cancel(color(black)("u")))#

Solve this equation for

#49.9472 * x + 50.9440 - 50.9440 * x = 50.9415#

#0.9968 * x = 0.0025 implies x = 0.0025/0.9968 = 0.00250803#

Since

#1 - x = 1 - 0.00250803 = 0.9974920#

The *percent abundances* of the two isotopes will be

#""^50"V: " 0.002508 xx 100 = color(green)(0.250803%)# #""^51"V: " 0.9974920 xx 100 = color(green)(99.7492%)#

I'll leave the values rounded to six sig figs, the number of sig figs you have for the atomic masses of the isotopes and for the relative atomic mass of the element.