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Publicly Available Published by De Gruyter August 6, 2018

Clarification of the term “normal material” used for standard atomic weights (IUPAC Technical Report)

From the journal Chemistry International

Tyler B. Coplen, Norman E. Holden, Michael E. Wieser, and John Karl Böhlke

Pure and Applied Chemistry, 2018 published online ahead of print 25 May 2018

The standard atomic weights of the elements apply to normal materials. Since 1984, the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights (Commission) has defined a normal material as:

“The material is a reasonably possible source for this element or its compounds in commerce, for industry or science; the material is not itself studied for some extraordinary anomaly and its isotopic composition has not been modified significantly in a geologically brief period.”

The term “a geologically brief period” in this definition is confusing, and confusion can be reduced by revising this definition to the following, which was accepted by the Commission on Isotopic Abundances and Atomic Weights at its meeting in Groningen, Netherlands in September 2017:

“Normal materials include all substances, except (1) those subjected to substantial deliberate, undisclosed, or inadvertent artificial isotopic modification, (2) extraterrestrial materials, and (3) isotopically anomalous specimens, such as natural nuclear reactor products from Oklo (Gabon) or other unique occurrences.”

Published Online: 2018-08-06
Published in Print: 2018-07-01

©2018 IUPAC & De Gruyter. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. For more information, please visit:

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