Do electrons stay in orbit around the nucleus in the same way

  • #1
137
0
We stay in orbit around the sun? Our own planet's kinetic energy keeps it from succumbing to the Sun's gravity, same concept with the electrons, this time Gravity being electromagnetic force right?

Edit: Damnit, wrong section...
 

Answers and Replies

  • #2
Pengwuino
Gold Member
4,989
16
No. Charged particles radiate away when they undergo an acceleration (and being in a circular orbit DOES require an acceleration). An electron would immediately crash into the protons in an atom if electrons orbited protons like planets orbit the Sun. Quantum mechanics tells you how electrons "orbit" protons and the nuclei of atoms. Needless to say, they don't.
 
  • #3
133
0
They orbit like planets if you use the Bohr model for atoms, but that kind of falls apart with things other than hydrogen-type atoms (He+1, Li+2, etc.). It's neat, I have a quantum mechanics book by Linus Pauling where he talks about such archaic things as the actual orbits of electrons. It's cute :)

Anyhow, as pengwuino says, electrons do not work with this way. In fact, when you want to look at QM, you should leave all your ideas of classical physics at the door. The name "orbital" is misleading for this reason, I suppose. They aren't "orbits" in the same manner as planets (as Neils Bohr thought). They are probability density functions describing where you are most likely to find an electron, or regions of high electron density. By definition, then, it cannot describe where the electron is 100% of the short of saying, "the electron exists somewhere in the universe." Of course, that's not very useful to most problems!
 

Related Threads on Do electrons stay in orbit around the nucleus in the same way

Replies
1
Views
784
Replies
5
Views
12K
Replies
20
Views
21K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
2
Views
2K
Replies
1
Views
4K
Replies
1
Views
1K
Replies
7
Views
5K
Top