Q:

What are examples of isotopes and their uses?

A:

Examples of isotopes are O-16, O-17 and O-18. These isotopes can be used in forensics, but are even more accurate in their ability to tell whether a certain rock originated on Earth, Mars or even an asteroid.

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Oxygen isotopes can also tell how the oceans have been heating up or cooling down over eons.

Carbon has 15 isotopes, and carbon-14 is famous for being able to tell the age of organisms. Because C-14 isn't taken in by dead matter, and because it has a half-life of about 5,400 years, archaeologists can use it to date fossils and bones. Also, a person born before the Test Ban Treaty has more C-14 in his body than a person born after the treaty went into effect. This is because of the amounts of the isotope that were released into the atmosphere from nuclear bombs.

Other useful isotopes are cesium-137, which is used in cancer treatment. Krypton-85 is used in the indicator lights on stereo systems, washing machines and other appliances. It's also used to measure the levels of pollution and dust in the atmosphere and to measure the thickness of plastic, rubber, paper and other materials.

Tritium is an isotope of hydrogen and is used to make things such as clockfaces and wristwatches glow in the dark.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What are natural and artificial isotopes?

    A:

    Isotopes are versions of a chemical element that vary based on the number of neutrons in their nuclei. A natural isotope is an atom that occurs in nature, while an artificial isotope only occurs in laboratory conditions. Isotopes of both types may be either stable or radioactive.

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  • Q:

    What are artificial isotopes?

    A:

    Artificial isotopes are laboratory-created forms of elements. An isotope is an element with a non-standard number of neutrons; these extra neutrons add to the atom's mass and can change the element's physical structure, but otherwise do not change the chemical properties of the element.

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  • Q:

    What are types of isotopes?

    A:

    The two types of isotopes are the parent and the daughter, sometimes called the progeny isotope. Isotopes, or atoms, are the different forms that an element can take. Isotopes have the same number of protons as the parent element, but they have different numbers of neutrons.

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  • Q:

    How do isotopes differ from one another?

    A:

    Isotopes differ from one another in the number of neutrons they possess. Because of their differing number of neutrons, isotopes also differ in their mass numbers, the total number of protons and neutrons.

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