What Are the Isotopes of Hydrogen?

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Hydrogen has three isotopes, which are H1, deuterium and tritium. Learn about the makeup of the isotopes of hydrogen with help from a science teacher and field biologist in this free video on chemistry.

Part of the Video Series: Biology & Organic Chemistry
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Video Transcript

Hi, I'm Brian with Ericksontutoring.blogspot.com. Today we're going to discuss the isotopes of hydrogen. So, first of all we need to understand what an isotope is. Atoms occur in several different forms or variations and the way that they differ, they all have the same number of protons in their nucleus, but the number of neutrons, neutrons are neutrally charged particles. The number of neutrons can vary, so the end result is that you have several different variations or forms of the same essential element. So, hydrogen, which is our focus today, has three isotopes. You have H1, which means that there's one proton and no neutrons in the nucleus. This is the most abundant form of hydrogen, I think it makes up 99.98% of all hydrogen on Earth. So, definitely the most abundant. There's deuterium, which has one proton and one neutron, that makes up another very small percent of the hydrogen on Earth, and it's good to know that that's not radioactive. It's often, or it's sometimes used in studies to non-radioactively mark different parts of a molecule. And then your third one is tritium. Tritium is a single proton with two additional neutrons in the nucleus, and that is highly radioactive, and it's used in some forms of science when you need a radioactive element to sort of mark your molecule. So, this has been a brief discussion of the isotopes of hydrogen.

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