Atoms and sub-atomic particles.

In summary, atoms are the building blocks of all matter and are made up of three components: electrons, protons, and neutrons. The number of electrons must equal the number of protons to maintain a neutral charge. These particles are held together by the strong nuclear force, and the number of neutrons affects the stability of the atom. For a basic understanding, knowing about electron shells, valency, and the four fundamental forces is sufficient.
  • #1
YoungDreamer
61
0
I am trying to get the most complete picture of the structure of atom.
I understand generally how elements and molecules are formed, however the last thing I was taught about atoms was 10 years ago.
I was told about the electron proton and nuetron and that's it.
I know this is just the basic idea of the atom so I am wondering if anyone can explain how atoms are put together and the different components that make them up.
You don't need to get into spin or charge or flavor or anything like that, I will not understand it. But just a basic physical description should do just fine.
 
Physics news on Phys.org
  • #2
Hi YoungDreamer! :smile:
YoungDreamer said:
I understand generally how elements and molecules are formed … I am wondering if anyone can explain how atoms are put together and the different components that make them up.

I assume you know about electron shells and valency, and that which element it is depends on the number of protons?

An atom has 3 components: the electrons protons and neutrons.

The number of electrons has to equal the number of protons (so that the total charge is zero), and they are attracted to the protons by the electromagnetic force (in other words, by opposite charge attracting) … that's really all you need to know about the electrons. :wink:

The protons and neutrons are held together by the "strong nuclear force" (one of the four fundamental forces), which is a lot stronger than the electromagnetic repulsion between the protons, but only acts over very short distances.

The number of neutrons doesn't affect the chemical properties of the atom, but it does affect its stability … too many or too few electrons means that the atom would need extra energy, and it would be unstable. Too many neutrons, a neutron will decay to a proton and emit an electron (and an anti-neutrino). Too few neutrons, a proton will decay to a neutron and emit a positron (and a neutrino) … this is how positrons are created in a laboratory.
 
  • #3

Related to Atoms and sub-atomic particles.

1. What is an atom?

An atom is the basic unit of matter, made up of a nucleus containing positively charged protons and neutral neutrons, surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

2. How many sub-atomic particles are there in an atom?

There are three sub-atomic particles in an atom: protons, neutrons, and electrons.

3. What is the role of protons in an atom?

Protons have a positive charge and are located in the nucleus of an atom. They determine the element of an atom and also contribute to its mass.

4. What is the function of neutrons in an atom?

Neutrons have a neutral charge and are also located in the nucleus of an atom. They are responsible for stabilizing the nucleus and contribute to the mass of an atom.

5. How do electrons contribute to the properties of an atom?

Electrons have a negative charge and are found in the electron cloud surrounding the nucleus. They determine the chemical and physical properties of an atom, such as its reactivity and ability to conduct electricity.

Similar threads

  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
2
Views
2K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
10
Views
2K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
4
Views
1K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
3
Views
4K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
1
Views
1K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
18
Views
2K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
9
Views
4K
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
2
Views
924
  • Atomic and Condensed Matter
Replies
3
Views
1K
Back
Top