Parts of the Atom - Nucleus, Electrons, Protons, and Atom Number

The Atom and Its Parts

The atom is the smallest unit of ordinary matter and a chemical element. It is the building block of every solid, liquid, and gas. Atoms can be neutral or ionized. They are very small, measuring about 100 picometers across. In this article, we will learn about the different parts of the atom, including its Nucleus, Electrons, Protons, and Atom Number.


The atomic nucleus is the small, dense region in the middle of an atom. It is made up of protons and neutrons. The nucleus was first discovered in 1911 by Ernest Rutherford, based on his 1909 gold foil experiment. Rutherford subsequently named the nucleus of anatom after its creator. This discovery changed the way we understand the nature of the atom.

The nucleus of an atom is the heaviest part of an atom, and compared to the rest of the atom, it's incredibly dense. In fact, the nucleus alone accounts for 99.9% of the mass of an atom. A nucleus is generally spherical in shape, though there are some that are egg-shaped.


The electrons in an atom are arranged in shells and energy levels. These shells and energy levels determine some of the physical properties of the elements. Scientists define mass as a unit of one atomic mass unit (Dalton). Atomic mass units are the same size as atoms with 50 million atoms.

An atom is made up of three different types of particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. The electron is the lightest of these three and carries a negative electrical charge. An atom can be positively or negatively charged by having more or fewer electrons. The resulting charged atom is called an ion. Since the late nineteenth century, scientists have known about electrons. The discovery of the electron was credited to an English schoolteacher named John Dalton.


Protons are fundamental particles that make up the nucleus of an atom. Each proton contains three streams of gluons and two quarks. Two of the quarks are called up quarks and the third is called a down quark. The gluons carry the strong nuclear force between the two quarks. This force is what overcomes the electric force that repulsion the positive protons from each other.

Protons and neutrons are both heavier than electrons. In fact, the mass of one proton is about 1,835 times more than that of an electron. Protons and electrons are usually found in equal numbers in an atom, although one can be heavier than another. Atoms also decay into different elements when they are split apart.

Atom's Atomic Number

An atom's atomic number is the total number of protons and electrons in the nucleus. Protons carry a positive charge, while electrons carry a negative charge. The neutral atom balances the charges of protons and electrons. A carbon atom, for example, contains six protons and six electrons, which gives it an atomic number of six.

When an element's atomic number is known, we can see its chemical composition. In the Periodic Table, each element is assigned a different atomic number. This is because the positive charge on an atom's nucleus is determined by its atomic number. When a protons' number changes, it changes the element's identity.

Structure of an Atom

The Structure of an Atom is a basic concept in physics. It refers to the constitution of an atom's nucleus, as well as the arrangement of its electrons. Each atom consists of a nucleus, which contains protons, and a shell of electrons surrounding it. The total number of protons and electrons in an atom is known as its atomic number.

Before the modern atom model was developed, many scientists sought to explain the structure of an atom using their own atomic models. This included a concept known as the "Plum Pudding Model." In this model, the atom is the smallest constituent of an element, which retains the element's chemical properties.

Nuclear Forces and Transmutation

Nuclear forces in the atom are responsible for the chemical reactions that take place within the atom. These forces are stronger at smaller distances than at larger ones. For example, the strong nuclear force is needed to bond two protons together, but this force cannot be used to break the bonds between two neutrons. In order to break these bonds, a great deal of energy must be emitted. Radioactive elements are inherently unstable and release particles and energy when they decay. This process is known as transmutation.

The mass of the neutron is the result of these interactions. The mass of the neutron is different from the mass of a proton, but they have similar functions within the nucleus of the atom. The mass of neutrons is also the basis for the calculation of atomic mass. Neutrons are the heaviest subatomic particles within the atom.

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