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Thread: Cannot find element for atomic mass

  1. #1
    Nov 2008

    Unhappy Cannot find element for atomic mass

    Cannot find element for atomic mass. I understand how to find an atomic mass but I cannot find the element for the following:
    isotope, Mass, Percent abundance
    16x, 15.995, 99.762%
    17x, 16.999, 0.038%
    18x, 17.999, 0.20%
    This problem is from my school text book. I don't have a problem with other examples on the internet or examples in the text book, but the text book problems don't lead to valid elements (so it seems). What am I doing wrong? Thank you.
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  2. #2
    MHF Contributor
    skeeter's Avatar
    Jun 2008
    North Texas
    since the atomic mass is around 16, I figured it may be oxygen.

    searched for isotopes of oxygen, found this info at isotope

    Oxygen occurs in nature as 3 different isotopes, each with 8 protons. The most common isotope is 16O (8 protons, 8 neutrons), which constitutes 99.765% of all oxygen atoms on earth. There is also the rare isotope 18O (0.1995%) and the even rarer isotope 17O. The most common water molecule by far has the most common isotopes of hydrogen and oxygen ans is thus 1H216O, but there are also such molecules as H218O, and HD16O. Molecules with more than one rare, heavy isotope are really rare.
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