Problem: Use the mass spectrum of mercury to estimate the atomic mass of mercury.Estimate the masses and percent intensity values from the graph to three significant figures.

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Mass spectrometry is often used to determine the atomic mass of an element. Recall that the atomic mass of an element depends on the relative abundance of each isotope.

From the figure, we can estimate the intensity of the signal for each isotope:

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Problem Details

Use the mass spectrum of mercury to estimate the atomic mass of mercury.

Mass spectrum of mercury with percent intensity on the vertical axis and mass (amu) on the horizontal axis. The spectrum includes the percent intensities of seven isotopes of mercury: Hg-196 with a peak intensity of about 5.0%; Hg-198 with a peak intensity of about 35%; Hg-199 with a peak intensity of about 55%; Hg-200 with a peak intensity of 75%; Hg-201 with a peak intensity of about 35%; Hg-202 with a peak intensity of 100%; and Hg-204 with a peak intensity of 25%.

Estimate the masses and percent intensity values from the graph to three significant figures.

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Frey, Statler, & Steele's class at UTAH.