Atomic Mass


Related Posts


The left diagram shows how a mass spectrometer works, which is primarily a large tube that bends downward at its midpoint. The sample enters on the left side of the tube. A heater heats the sample, causing it to vaporize. The sample is also hit with a beam of electrons as it is being vaporized. Charged particles from the sample, called ions, are then accelerated and pass between two magnets. The magnetic field deflects the lightest ions most. The deflection of the ions is measured by a detector located on the right side of the tube. The graph to the right of the spectrometer shows a mass spectrum of zirconium. The relative abundance, as a percentage from 0 to 100, is graphed on the y axis, and the mass to charge ratio is graphed on the x axis. The sample contains five different isomers of zirconium. Z R 90, which has a mass to charge ratio of 90, is the most abundant isotope at about 51 percent relative abundance. Z R 91 has a mass to charge ratio of 91 and a relative abundance of about 11 percent. Z R 92 has a mass to charge ratio of 92 and a relative abundance of about 18 percent. Z R 94 has a mass to charge ratio of 94 and a relative abundance of about 18 percent. Z R 96, which has a mass to charge ratio of 96, is the least abundant zirconium isotope with a relative abundance of about 2 percent.
Analysis of zirconium in a mass spectrometer produces a mass spectrum with peaks showing the different isotopes of Zr. Source: OpenStax Chemistry 2e

OpenStax Chemistry 2e

Each proton and each neutron contribute approximately one amu to the mass of an atom, and each electron contributes far less, the atomic mass of a single atom is approximately equal to its mass number (a whole number). However, the average masses of atoms of most elements are not whole numbers because most elements exist naturally as mixtures of two or more isotopes.

The mass of an element shown in a periodic table or listed in a table of atomic masses is a weighted, average mass of all the isotopes present in a naturally occurring sample of that element. This is equal to the sum of each individual isotope’s mass multiplied by its fractional abundance.

For example, the element boron is composed of two isotopes: About 19.9% of all boron atoms are 10B with a mass of 10.0129 amu, and the remaining 80.1% are 11B with a mass of 11.0093 amu. The average atomic mass for boron is calculated to be:

It is important to understand that no single boron atom weighs exactly 10.8 amu; 10.8 amu is the average mass of all boron atoms, and individual boron atoms weigh either approximately 10 amu or 11 amu.

The occurrence and natural abundances of isotopes can be experimentally determined using an instrument called a mass spectrometer. Mass spectrometry (MS) is widely used in chemistry, forensics, medicine, environmental science, and many other fields to analyze and help identify the substances in a sample of material. In a typical mass spectrometer, the sample is vaporized and exposed to a high-energy electron beam that causes the sample’s atoms (or molecules) to become electrically charged, typically by losing one or more electrons. These cations then pass through a (variable) electric or magnetic field that deflects each cation’s path to an extent that depends on both its mass and charge (similar to how the path of a large steel ball bearing rolling past a magnet is deflected to a lesser extent that that of a small steel BB). The ions are detected, and a plot of the relative number of ions generated versus their mass-to-charge ratios (a mass spectrum) is made. The height of each vertical feature or peak in a mass spectrum is proportional to the fraction of cations with the specified mass-to-charge ratio. Since its initial use during the development of modern atomic theory, MS has evolved to become a powerful tool for chemical analysis in a wide range of applications.

Source:


Source:

Flowers, P., Theopold, K., Langley, R., & Robinson, W. R. (2019, February 14). Chemistry 2e. Houston, Texas: OpenStax. Access for free at: https://openstax.org/books/chemistry-2e


Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.