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Thread: Carbon and its UNstable Neutrons

  1. #1 Carbon and its UNstable Neutrons 
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    Im having trouble grasping if Carbon-12 is stable and Carbon-13 is stable alas it dosn't have the same amount of neutrons as protons then how can it be stable when Carbon-14 is unstable and it just has one more neutron


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    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    That's just where the line is for carbon. Atoms don't have to have the same number of protons and neutrons to be stable. In the higher atomic numbers there are far more neutrons than protons and those elements are stable (up to a certain point at which point they become radioactive and decay to become stable, of course).


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    Quote Originally Posted by Chemboy
    That's just where the line is for carbon. Atoms don't have to have the same number of protons and neutrons to be stable. In the higher atomic numbers there are far more neutrons than protons and those elements are stable (up to a certain point at which point they become radioactive and decay to become stable, of course).
    ok thanks. So if i ran into a question like this in an exam would I be told when a certain element becomes unstable when there are too many neutrons?
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    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    I suppose that's how they'd do it... But if I had to guess you probably won't see too much of that kind of thing... Just in the nuclear chemistry unit. Maybe that's where you are, I don't know.
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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