Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Differences Between Mass Number And Atomic Mass

Atoms are basically what every living thing is made of. According to science, the atom is the smallest substance that exists in this world. One single millimeter includes 7 million atoms; thus their size is a few tenths of a nanometer. Atoms are the substance of matter, something that we can concretely hold and eat, and each atom is surrounded by a cloud of electrons.

Atoms have equal amount of electrons and protons. These are the particles that have a negative charge (electrons) and positive charge (protons) on them. Neutrons are the neutrally charged particles that have no excessive amount of either charge.

As to what atoms usually contain and what it is called, there has always been a certain amount of confusion. The terms atomic mass and mass number are often interchangeable or perceived as synonymous. However, those terms actually vary depending on what the atoms consist of.

Atomic mass is the mass of the entire particle. It is the average of all isotopes in an atom. It is based on the abundance of a certain atom’s isotope. Therefore, it is the combined weight of both protons and neutrons in an atom.

Mass number, on the other hand, is the number of protons in the nucleus of that certain atom or element. This is a concrete and specific number like 2 or 3, while atomic mass’ units are not commonly integers.

To explain further, here is an example. You have been a chosen as a candidate to represent all the women in the whole world. With a medium of 300 women, you mostly represent, which is your mass number, is only of relative to the entire women in the whole world for just about .15%. This is because, as obvious as it can be, there are more than just 300 women in the whole world. Therefore, the atomic number only represents the integer and concrete number of protons and neutrons in a certain element, while the mass number represents the whole isotopes or the content of the element.

You should understand that isotopes have variants in different elements. Each isotope in every chemical element has a different number of protons and neutrons. Hence, these isotopes have the same pattern, something of which we learn in our chemistry classes, but differs when to stop. Isotopes ‘pattern’ stops with the mass number as a basis. Say for example, Carbon has a mass number of 12, 13 and 14. The atomic number of carbon would suggest that it has 6 protons in general. Therefore, the neutron numbers of these isotopes can be found out through deducting the mass number to the number of protons, which leads to 6,7 and 8 neutrons each isotope.

Science is indeed a complex thing to study about. However, with the right teacher and perseverance in knowledge, you get to realize that it is fun and exciting too.

Atoms and basically everything mentioned in this article are just a few of the many living things that make us humans. Is not it amazing how we are designed to function from our head to our toe? When you get your gears ready, there is more to science than what you can actually imagine!

Summary:

  1. Atomic Mass is actually the mass of the entire particle. It is the average of all isotopes in an atom. It is based on the abundance of a certain atom’s isotope. Therefore, it is like the combined weight of both protons and neutrons in an atom.

  1. While mass number on the other hand, is the number of protons in the nucleus of that certain atom. Say for example the number of protons in a certain element. The concrete and specific number like 2 or 3 or whatever, while atomic mass’ units are not commonly integers.


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