Lithium-6 produces an alpha particle and an isotope of hydrogen.  Write the corresponding equation.  What isotope of hydrogen is produced?  

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ncchemist eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Lithium-6 has three protons and three neutrons.  An alpha particle is a particle with two protons and two neutrons.  If Li-6 decays to produce an alpha particle, this results in a net loss of two protons and two neutrons.  So the lithium decays to a hydrogen (3 protons down to 1 proton).  This also means that the mass number of the Li-6 drops by 4 to give a hydrogen atom with a mass number of 2 (1 proton and 1 neutron).  This isotope of hydrogen is called deuterium.  The nuclear equation is written below:

Li-6 --> He-4 + H-2

Please note that an alpha particle is denoted in the equation as He-4.

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