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Difference Between Carbon 12 and Carbon 14

Carbon 12 vs Carbon 14

Carbon 12 and Carbon 14 are isotopes of Carbon. Of these two isotopes, Carbon 12 is most abundant. These two Carbon isotopes mainly differ in their mass number; the mass number of Carbon 12 is 12 and that of Carbon 14 is 14.

Carbon 12 comes with the same number of protons and neutrons, whereas Carbon 14 has different proton and neutron numbers. Carbon 12 has six protons and six neutrons and Carbon 14 has 6 protons and eight neutrons.

When comparing the two isotopes, Carbon 14 is rare. Another thing that can be seen is that Carbon 12 is a stable isotope and Carbon 14 is an unstable isotope. Carbon 12 is stable because it contains the same number of protons and neutrons and the Carbon 14 is unstable because there of the difference in their proton and neutron numbers.

As Carbon 14 is unstable, it disintegrates or goes through radioactive decay. Carbon 14 has a half-life of 5730 years. Carbon 12 does not go through radioactive decay. As Carbon 14 decays, it is used for the determination of archaeological samples.

Carbon 12 has its own importance, as it is used as a standard form for measuring the atomic weight of all elements. Before 1959, oxygen was the standard form used and it was in 1961 that Carbon 12 replaced oxygen as the standard form of measurement.

Carbon 14 is also about 20 per cent heavier than Carbon 12. Carbon 12 contains a larger portion of living organisms when compared to Carbon 14

Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben are credited with the discovery of Carbon 14 in 1940. However, Franz Kurie had suggested the existence of Carbon 14 in 1934.

Summary

1. Carbon 12 is more abundant than Carbon 14.
2. Carbon 12 has six protons and six neutrons. On the other hand, Carbon 14 has 6 protons and eight neutrons.
3. Carbon 12 is a stable isotope and Carbon 14 is an unstable isotope.
4. As Carbon 14 is unstable, it disintegrates or goes through radioactive decay. Carbon 12 does not go through radioactive decay.
5. Carbon 14 is used for the determination of archaeological samples. Carbon 12 has its own importance as it is used as a standard form for measuring the atomic weight of all elements
6. Carbon 14 is heavier than Carbon 12.


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