What is the difference between Carbon 12, 13, and 14?

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Apr 22, 2016


The difference is the number of neutrons.


Carbon 12, 13 and 14 are carbon isotopes, meaning that they have additional neutrons:

  • Carbon 12 has exactly 6 protons and 6 neutrons ( hence the 12 )
  • Carbon 13 has 6 protons and 7 neutrons
  • Carbon 14 has 6 protons and 8 neutrons

Because molecular mass is calculated by adding the number of protons and neutrons, you could also say that the difference between these isotopes is mass ( if you have 1 mole of each isotope, carbon 14 would have the greatest mass ).

Carbon 14 is also radioactive with a half-life of 5700 years.

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