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Do atoms ever die?

  1. May 11, 2012 #1
    do they just gon spinning? where does it all lead up to? entropy? or someyhing else?
     
  2. jcsd
  3. May 11, 2012 #2
    What do you mean by "die?"

    There's no reason for them to split apart at all, they should remain in their current state. Electrons, due to the nature of Quantum Mechanics, should remain in their respective orbits, and the nucleus should stay bound, unless exposed to extreme conditions, such as the core of a star, where they fuse together.

    Some radioactive isotopes decay into different kinds of atoms, too.
     
  4. May 11, 2012 #3
    there's something call proton decay, but it is currently hypothetical and has never been observed
     
  5. May 11, 2012 #4

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Atoms cannot "die" in the normal sense. However I expect you already knew this but didn't know how to word the question. So, what CAN happen to the atom? The most common thing is that it bonds with another atom, or several, to form a molecule by sharing, borrowing, or giving up electrons. Since electrons are considered part of the atom, it isn't the same as it used to be. We also have nuclear decay, where particles in the nucleus are transformed into other particles, ejected completely out, or the nucleus splits into large pieces, with each piece forming a new atom of a different element. Finally there is nuclear fusion where the nuclei of two atoms fuses together to form another one of a different element.
     
  6. Jun 16, 2012 #5
    Atoms are matter, and made of subatomic particles.

    Anti-matter composed of particles of opposite charge is considered possible.

    Adding matter to anti-matter would convert the matter (and equivalent anti-matter) to energy.
     
  7. Jun 16, 2012 #6

    Drakkith

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    Staff: Mentor

    Not only is it considered possible, it has been observed. We make antimatter and observe it all the time.
     
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