What Is the Isotope of Phosphorus?

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Phosphorus has three isotopes, which result in the formation of phosphorus 31, 32 and 33. Phosphorus 32 and 33 are unstable isotopes that are radioactive. Learn more about how isotopes are formed with information from a math and science teacher in this free video on science.

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Video Transcript

Hi I'm Steve Jones and I'm going to tell you about the Isotope of Phosphorous. Well should I say actually Isotopes of phosphorus. Because there isn't one, there are actually three. Now the question is what is an isotope. First of all within the nucleus of an atom, let's say that's the nucleus, we draw it as a brilliant ball but it isn't really like that. Within that there are fifteen protons. If it's phosphorus that are fifteen protons. But within that nucleus there are also neutrons in the stable isotope, this is stable, it's called phosphorus thirty one, there are actually sixteen neutrons. Around this there will be automatically something like fifteen electrons in a neutral atom. The difference between the different isotopes are that instead of there being sixteen there can also be seventeen or eighteen neutrons in the nucleus which mean that we have three types of phosphorus. Phosphorus thirty one, phosphorus thirty two and phosphorus thirty three. Phosphorus thirty two and thirty three are not stable. They are radioactive, they, the nucleus will literally split and spit out a particle and change into a different chemical substance. So these are not stable and this typically has a half life of fourteen days that is in fourteen days, in two weeks half of it would have turned into something else. And after another two weeks, another half and so on. Phosphorus thirty three well slightly longer half life, twenty four days. But still quite short so these aren't stable. There is one stable isotope of phosphorus and that is phosphorus thirty one.

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