# Questions about atoms: shells, attraction, elements

• Robert P
In summary, electrons in the atomic model are arranged into shells and specific numbers, but the reason behind this arrangement is still unknown. The attraction between negative electrons and positive protons is explained by electrodynamics. As for why atoms form distinct elements, it is believed to be due to the combination of protons and neutrons, similar to building with basic lego pieces.
Robert P
My understanding is the atomic model has electrons occupying shells and in particular numbers, but what's known about why they arrange themselves into shells and in those particular numbers?

The teaching is that electrons have a negative charge and protons have a positive charge - but why do negative and positive attract? I.e. what are the mechanics of them being drawn toward each other?

If everything in the universe is made of the same constituent components, why do atoms arrange themselves into distinct elements?

Q1: you could consult https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atomic_orbital.

Q2: the "mechanics" is called electrodynamics. I do not know why electrons and protons attract, just how.
The why answer would require a deeper theory that the present one.
Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electric_charge

Q3: Just like with old school lego, many structures can exist based on only the two basic components, protons and neutrons.
Take a look at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chemical_element#Origin_of_the_elements to get an idea of how the various elements are thought to been formed.

## 1. How many shells does an atom typically have?

Atoms can have anywhere from 1 to 7 shells, with the first shell closest to the nucleus and each subsequent shell further away.

## 2. What is the force of attraction between protons and electrons in an atom?

The force of attraction between protons and electrons in an atom is known as the electrostatic force. This force is responsible for keeping the negatively charged electrons orbiting around the positively charged nucleus.

## 3. What determines the number of protons in an element?

The number of protons in an element is determined by its atomic number. This is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of that element.

## 4. How do electrons fill the shells of an atom?

Electrons fill the shells of an atom in a specific order, starting with the first shell and moving outwards. Each shell can hold a certain number of electrons, with the first shell holding a maximum of 2 electrons, the second shell holding a maximum of 8, and so on.

## 5. What is the relationship between the number of protons and the element's atomic mass?

The number of protons in an element is equal to its atomic number, while the atomic mass is determined by the number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus. The atomic mass of an element is approximately equal to the number of protons plus the number of neutrons.

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