Aluminum, also written as aluminium, is a lightweight silvery-white metal. It has an atomic number of 13 and its chemical symbol is Al. Although it is the most abundant metal on Earth, it is too chemically reactive to occur on its own. It can be found combined with other elements in many different forms. The most important source of aluminum is bauxite, which is mined in many parts of the for the aluminum content. Aluminum is also known for its many isotopes that have been discovered. Let’s take a closer look at the isotopes of aluminum.
How many isotopes does aluminum have?
There are 22 known isotopes of aluminum, which range from 21Al to 42Al. The only stable isotope of aluminum is 27Al and is one of two, the other is 26Al, isotopes to be found naturally. Although there a few isotopes that have a half life over 2 minutes, most of the remaining isotopes have a half life of a few seconds or less.
26Al is one of the most important isotopes of aluminum. It has a long half life and has been used for studying the moon and meteorites to better understand their age. Together with 10Be it is also used for studying ocean sediment. 26Al is radioactive and must be stored behind lead for safety reasons.