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Copper Isotopes in Pennies

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Stephanie Steadman

on 27 March 2014

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Transcript of Copper Isotopes in Pennies

Copper Isotopes in Pennies
10 pennies from before 1982
10 pennies from after 1982
a scale
1. Group pennies into two groups: pre-1982 and post-1982.

2. Using a scale, determine the mass of each group.

3. Divide the total mass from each group by ten to find the average mass of the penny isotopes.
How can you calculate the atomic mass of an element using the percentage abundance of its isotopes?
I am trying to figure out how one can determine the atomic mass of an element by using the percentage abundance of its isotopes. By measuring different pennies, I can find their average in calculating the isotopes. The experiment is relevant to current issues as the question over the usefulness of the penny nags the US government. Cost of production and mass is related when looking at the composition change in pennies over the years. I will focus on the composition that was made in 1982, and use their difference as a way to look at the copper isotopes. The amount of copper in a penny changed from almost 95% to 5% in an effort to decrease the costs of minting it. Instead, zinc replaced some of the copper and the mass therefore changed.

If the mass of pennies made before 1982 was found, then they would weigh more that pennies made after 1982, due to the changes made in the penny's compositon.

independent variable- pre-1982 and post-1982 pennies

dependent variable- mass
mass (g)
Average mass of pennies
I found out that isotope of copper can be found in pennies due to composition change, depending on their date of production.
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