Main Atomic Information

Atoms are important to know and learn about. The information that we have covered in class that has most interested me is the notes about Atomic structure, mass, volume, number, and isotopes.

All atoms are made from three subatomic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus, while electrons move rapidly around them. Protons are positively charged, electrons are negatively charged, and neutrons have no charge. Atoms also have shells where the electrons are. In a stable atom, the outer shell is full. Protons and neutrons have almost the same mass, while electrons are considerably lighter. The protons and neutrons are held together in the nucleus by the strong nuclear force. The negatively charged electrons are attracted to the positively charged nucleus. While the electron cloud has most of the atoms volume, the nucleus holds most of its mass. Atoms in their natural state have the same number of protons and electrons, so they have no charge. If that becomes uneven, like more protons than electrons or vice versa, then the atom is called an ion. Every element is made from atoms. I find this amazing considering atoms are mostly air, with the space in between the nucleus and the electron cloud. A persons’ hand is also mostly air, and with the given information, someone would expect their hand to go right through an object they would touch, like a brick. But that doesn’t happen because as atoms get too close to one another their charges begin to repel each other. Once they’re close enough the electrons on the near side of both atoms begin to repel each other. That is why bricks feel solid to us even though they are mostly empty space.

The atomic number is the number of protons in the nucleus of the atom. It is also the number of electrons in a neutral atom. The identity of an element depends on its atomic number, not on its atomic weight. For example, the atomic number of oxygen is eight, because oxygen has eight protons in its nucleus. The atomic number of every element can be found on the Periodic Table of the Elements above the elements’ symbol. The atomic mass number is the number of neutrons and protons in the nucleus of the atom. The average atomic mass of every element can be found on the Periodic Table of the Elements below the elements’ symbol and name. If an atom has the same number of protons as another atom, but a different number of neutrons, then it is called an isotope. Isotopes differ in atomic mass but not in chemical properties. They are also known as radioactive forms of an element. The number of protons in the nucleus of each atom is important in determining its chemical properties, because the positive charge of the nucleus determines how the electrons are distributed.

Atoms are important to know and learn about. They are the building blocks of all matter. In my opinion, this information about atoms is mostly the basic things that you are expected to know. I think that it is interesting to learn about atoms and elements, especially since this information is going to be important for a long time.

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