Carbon 12 vs Carbon 14
Carbon 12 and Carbon 14 are isotopes of carbon atom. Carbon atom always has 6 protons. They usually have 6 neutrons as well, which is why they are known as carbon 12. But sometimes there are 8 instead of 6 neutrons which is when it becomes carbon 14. In chemical reactions, carbon 12 and carbon 14 behave in a similar manner. C 12 and C 14 are called isotopes of carbon atom. Normally carbon is found in C 12 state, but occasionally it is also found as C 14. Let us see the differences between the two isotopes of carbon.
Since the weight of protons and neutrons is same, having 8 neutrons, C 14 is 20% heavier than C 12. Atomic number of an element is the number of protons present in its nucleus. Since both C 12 and C 14 have same number of protons, their atomic number is same but their atomic weights are different because of different number of neutrons. C 12 and C 14 also behave differently when it comes to nuclear reactions.
Another difference between the two isotopes is that C 12 is found abundantly in earth’s crust while C 14 is rare. C 12 is a stable isotope of Carbon while C 14 is an unstable isotope of Carbon atom. Being unstable, radioactive decay of C 14 takes place. It is a process that occurs for every isotope that is unstable and is a natural process. This unique property of C 14 is used for the determination of objects that are thousands of years old and is used extensively in archeology. The half life of C 14 is 5730 years.
C 12 on the other hand is taken as a standard for measuring atomic weights of other elements. It became a standard for measurement of atomic weights in 1961, replacing oxygen atom. C 14 was discovered in 1940 by Martin Kamen and Sam Ruben.
• C 12 and C 14 are isotopes of carbon atom.
• While C 12 is found abundantly, C 14 is rare.
• C 14, having more neutrons is 20% heavier than C 12.
• C 14 is unstable and decays which is used for determination of archeological artifacts.