Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

The strength of electromagnetism in an atom?

  1. May 15, 2013 #1
    I realize atoms are held together by STRONG electromagnetism, but if you were to convert this energy into an everyday scenario, how strong would it really be? I'm trying to explain the power behind a small atom and I feel using a 'real', known object. Thank you in advance for any answers.
  2. jcsd
  3. May 15, 2013 #2
    "Strong" electromagnetism? Why, the electron in a hydrogen atom only requires 13.6eV of energy to remove. I don't think that's a lot.
  4. May 15, 2013 #3
    Oh? Hmm, interesting. Maybe I had something wrong somewhere.. but I had always thought that the power was which more than that.
  5. May 15, 2013 #4


    User Avatar
    Gold Member

    Fightfish is right, the amount of energy needed to remove the electron of a neutral hydrogen atom is 13.6 eV. This energy isn't comparable to any energy of macroscopic system I know of; it's way too small so it would be hard to get a "feeling" making a comparison to a "real known object".

    On the other hand, if you take the HCl molecule, you can think of it as roughly a harmonic oscilator whose Hooke's constant is of the order of 200 N/m (out of memory). So you can roughly think that the 2 atoms are linked via a spring whose Hooke's constant can be compared to a macroscopic spring, that would be your "real object".
Know someone interested in this topic? Share this thread via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook

Similar Discussions: The strength of electromagnetism in an atom?
  1. Oscillator strength (Replies: 1)