Q:

# What mass is assigned to carbon-12 in the system of relative atomic mass?

A:

The mass assigned to a carbon-12 atom in the system of relative atomic mass is 12. The atomic mass for other atoms is then derived as a ratio of 1/12 of the atomic mass of carbon-12. The relative atomic mass system is less cumbersome than basing calculations on the actual mass of an atom, which in the case of a carbon-12 atom, is approximately 1.993x10-26 kg.

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A single unit of relative atomic mass, also referred to as an amu or atomic mass unit, represents approximately 1.661x10-27 kg, or 1/12 the mass of a carbon-12 atom. Since there are 6 protons and 6 neutrons in a carbon atom, this mass is also representative of the mass of 1 proton or 1 neutron. Using this system, the relative atomic mass of oxygen, which contains 8 protons and 8 neutrons, is conveniently represented by 16 rather than by its individual mass of approximately 2.657x10-26 kg.

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## Related Questions

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Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, has an atomic mass of 2.014 u. Deuterium is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. In contrast, hydrogen has an atomic mass of 1.008 u.

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The atomic mass of aluminum is 26.98 amu. Aluminum is one of the lightest elements, making it ideal for construction, transportation and other commercial uses.

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The atomic mass unit, or amu, is 1/12 the mass of one atom of carbon-12. An atomic mass unit has the mass of 1/(6.0221415 * 10^23) grams.