Essay About Atomic Structure

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Atomic Structure Essay

In examining atomic structure though, we have to clarify this statement. An atom cannot be broken down further without changing the chemical nature of the substance. For example, if you have 1 ton, 1 gram or 1 atom of oxygen, all of these units have the same properties. We can break down the atom of oxygen into smaller particles, however, when we do the atom looses its chemical properties. For example, if you have 100 watches, or one watch, they all behave like watches and tell time. You can dismantle one of the watches: take the back off, take the batteries out, peer inside and pull things out. However, now the watch no longer behaves like a watch. So what does an atom look like inside?

Atoms are made up of 3 types of particles electrons , protons and neutrons . These particles have different properties. Electrons are tiny, very light particles that have a negative electrical charge (-). Protons are much larger and heavier than electrons and have the opposite charge, protons have a positive charge. Neutrons are large and heavy like protons, however neutrons have no electrical charge. Each atom is made up of a combination of these particles. Let's look at one type of atom:

A neutron walked into a bar and

asked how much for a drink.

The bartender replied,

"for you, no charge."

-Jaime - Internet Chemistry Jokes

The atom above, made up of one proton and one electron, is called hydrogen (the abbreviation for hydrogen is H). The proton and electron stay together because just like two magnets, the opposite electrical charges attract each other. What keeps the two from crashing into each other? The particles in an atom are not still. The electron is constantly spinning around the center of the atom (called the nucleus). The centrigugal force of the spinning electron keeps the two particles from coming into contact with each other much as the earth's rotation keeps it from plunging into the sun. Taking this into consideration, an atom of hydrogen would look like this:

A Hydrogen Atom

Keep in mind that atoms are extremely small. One hydrogen atom, for example, is approximately 5 x 10-8 mm in diameter. To put that in perspective, this dash - is approximately 1 mm in length, therefore it would take almost 20 million hydrogen atoms to make a line as long as the dash. In the sub-atomic world, things often behave a bit strangely. First of all, the electron actually spins very far from the nucleus. If we were to draw the hydrogen atom above to scale, so that the proton were the size depicted above, the electron would actually be spinning approximately 0.5 km (or about a quarter of a mile) away from the nucleus. In other words, if the proton was the size depicted above, the whole atom would be about the size of Giants Stadium. Another peculiarity of this tiny world is the particles themselves. Protons and neutrons behave like small particles, sort of like tiny billiard balls. The electron however, has some...

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Atom Essay

561 Words3 Pages


     Atoms are the building blocks of matter. Everything around us is made up of atoms. The atom is more than a million times smaller than the thickness of a human hair. The smallest speck that can be seen under an ordinary microscope contains more than 10 billion atoms. Even though atoms are incredibly tiny, they are made up of even more minute particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. These are called subatomic particles. Each element has a definite number of subatomic particles, which make up the center of the atom, called the nucleus.

The proton, a subatomic particle that carries a positive charge, is made up of 3 quarks. The proton is one of few particles that are stable alone. Protons positive…show more content…

The other two fundamental forces, gravitation and the weak nuclear force, also affect the proton. Gravitation attracts things with mass to each other. The weak nuclear force is a feeble force that governs how some particles break up into other particles.

     The neutron, which is an electrically neutral particle, is roughly the same mass of a proton. The neutron and proton are tightly bonded together in the nucleus of the atom. Each atom usually contains about as many neutrons as protons, but different atoms of the same element may have different numbers of neutrons. All four fundamental forces of nature also affect electrons. Because it has mass, it is affected by gravity. Although the neutron has no electrical charge, it is slightly magnetic, so it has an electromagnetic force. The neutron is also affected by the strong nuclear force and the weak nuclear force.

     The electron, which forms the other layer of the atom, has a negative charge. The electron’s negative charge is –1.602 x 10^-19 coulomb, and has a mass of 9.109 x 10^-31 kg. The electrons are equal in number to the protons in the atom, balancing the electrical charge of the nucleus. The atom’s electrons orbit around the nucleus of the atom. The greater amount of energy the electron has, the further away from the nucleus it will be.

     The subatomic particles work

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