Atomic Weight and Atomic Mass

Atomic mass and atomic weight do not mean the same but still some people use the terms interchangeably. Let’s see how they are different.

What Is Atomic Weight?

A single element can have several isotopes. To calculate atomic weight it is necessary to consider masses of isotopes. The percentage of isotopes may differ. While calculating atomic weight, isotope relative abundance and isotope mass have to be considered.

History of Atomic Weight Scale

  • John Dalton considers the value 1 for hydrogen as the base of his scale of atomic weights.
  • The Swedish chemistJ.J. Berzelius used 100 for oxygen and the Belgian chemist J.S.Stas who carried out much quantitative analysis of compounds proposed 16 for oxygen and this base was used for many years.
  • For several decades nuclidic masses were expressed on a scale based on 1/18th the mass of the neutral atom oxygen. The chemical atomic weight unit was then 1.000272 times the physical atomic mass unit.
  • This period of confusion was brought to an end in 1961 by the acceptance of 1/12th the mass of carbon as the unit for both atomic weights and nuclidic masses.

What Is Atomic Mass?

The total number of neutrons and protons of an atom is called atomic mass. Electrons are not counted and can be neglected as their size is very small. The atomic mass unit is dalton. It is represented as Da and is the standard unit used to indicate the mass of an atom. The atomic mass of elements differs as it depends on the number of protons and neutrons in a particular element.

To make you understand how atomic mass and atomic weight are different from each other, here are some of the major differences between atomic mass and atomic weight:

Difference between Atomic Mass & Atomic Weight

Difference between Atomic mass and Atomic weight
ATOMIC MASS ATOMIC WEIGHT
It is the sum of neutrons and protons present in an atom Average of ratio of atoms, present in an element
Isotopes are not included in the calculation Isotopes are included in the calculation
Calculated value is a whole number Calculated value may or may not be a whole number
Analysis is done by mass spectroscopy Analysis is done by mass spectroscopy

These were some of the important differences between atomic weight and atomic mass. To know differences between other topics in chemistry you can register to BYJU’S or download our app for simple and interesting content. India’s largest k-12 learning app with top-notch teachers from across the nation with excellent teaching skills.

Recommended Videos


 

Find notes, question papers for other subjects like Mathematics, Physics, Biology and various competitive exams as well. Enjoy learning with a great experience. Learning is no more boring with BYJU’S.

Related Links:

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *