Electrons, protons, and neutrons

An atom is the smallest unit of a substance , which makes up all matter, whether common or ordinary. The protons, neutrons and electrons are those particles that make up the atom (which is the smallest part of the element). These particles will determine the characteristics and properties of the different chemical elements.

DefinitionA subatomic particle that has a negative electrical charge and that actively orbits the nucleus of the atom.Subatomic particle considered stable, positively charged and located within the nucleus of the atom.Subatomic particle present in the nucleus of some atoms and which has a neutral electric charge.
Type of loadNegative charge (-1)Positive charge (+1)Neutral charge (0)
Location in the atomOutside the coreInside the coreInside the core
Mass (kg)
9,109 x 10--31kg1,673 x 10--27kg1,673 x 10--27kg

What is an atom?

In order to understand the particles that make up an atom, we must first know their concept. An atom is the smallest quantity of a chemical element , which has its own existence and is considered indivisible. This atom is formed by a nucleus with protons and neutrons and by several orbital electrons, where their number varies according to the chemical element in question.

-The electrons have a negative charge and subatomic particles are those even lighter atoms.

-The protons are positively charged and its weight is 1,836 times that of the electrons.

-The neutrons are those particles which have no charge and weights about the same as protons.

The neutrons and protons are grouped in the center of the atom forming the atomic nucleus. It is for this reason that they are also called nucleons , on the other hand the electrons are orbiting around this atomic nucleus.

Protons have a positive energy charge, while neutrons have no charge. The difference between the different chemical elements is given by the number of protons and neutrons in their atoms.

What is an electron?

An electron is a subatomic particle that has a negative electric charge and that actively orbits the nucleus of the atom (which is made up of protons and electrons) and which has a positive charge. The electron is the lightest essential particle and the one with the lowest possible charge.

The size of this particle is 1836 times smaller than that of protons and as they have no substructures or divisions, it is considered an elementary particle of matter. They have a fundamental role in certain forces and physical phenomena of nature, such as magnetism, electricity and conductivity ends. The electrons are to a large extent those who determine the atomic bonds, whether they are ionic (losses or gains of electrons) or covalent (of joint use of electrons). They generate electric fields that affect the charged particles that are located around them.

Characteristics of electrons

The electrons belonging to the group of elementary particles called leptons and for each type of particles are different generations. In the case of electrons, they are the leptons with the lowest mass of the set, and they belong to the first generation of fundamental particles.

The mass of an electro is 9.019 x 10-31 kg and its electric charge is -1.602 x 10-19 coulomb, which implies that it has a charge identical to that of the proton, but with the opposite sign. This measure is known as the elemental charge of nature.

The electrons found in the outermost shell of an atom have the ability to jump from one atom to another and this gives the atom a different electrical charge.

This subatomic particle called the electron was discovered in 1897 by JJ Thomson, the same one who discovered the atomic model of “raisin pudding.”

What is a proton?

proton is another type of subatomic particle , those tiny particles that make up an atom. Protons belong to the fermion family and have a positive electrical charge.

As we detailed previously, matter is composed of atoms and these in turn of three types of particles, which are endowed with different electrical charges: electrons (negative charge), neutrons (neutral charge) and protons (positive charge). ).

For a long period of time it was believed that a proton was a fundamental particle since it could not be divided, but today there is strong evidence that it is composed of quarks.

The proton is a subatomic particle considered stable and unlike the electron, which is orbiting around the nucleus of the atom, they are found within this nucleus with the neutrons contributing most of the atomic mass.

Characteristics of protons

Protons are stable particles, 1836 times more massive than an electron and composed of a positive elemental charge of 1 (1.6 x 10-19 C). They are composed of three fundamental particles or also called quarks: two above and one below. The life of a proton is more than 1035 years, from which point they can begin to decompose.

These particles have their own spin , that is, an intrinsic and invariable angular momentum, which in the case of protons is ½. This feature is very useful for nuclear magnetic resonance and different types of modern technological applications.

In 1911, Ernest Rutherford discovered that the nucleus of an atom was tiny and positively charged, and hence the concept of the proton was born.

What is a neutron?

The neutron is another type of subatomic particle present in the nucleus of some atoms (except hydrogen) and which has a neutral electrical charge . All existing atoms are made up of neutrons, protons, and electrons.
A neutron is one of the components that make up the  atom , and it is located in the nucleus and is held there by strong nuclear forces, unlike the electrons that are orbiting outside the atom.

Neutron characteristics

The neutrons fulfill a stabilizing function within the nucleus of the atom, if they would not be there the protons would repel each other. With their presence, they compensate for this repulsive electrical force by means of the nuclear force that holds together the protons and neutrons in the atomic nucleus.

The neutrons can not be subdivided and are formed by three particles called quark and are distributed as follows: Two quark down (having an electric charge of -1/3) and quark (with load +2/3) . If we add both electric charges, we will obtain a zero coulomb as a result, which implies that the particle becomes neutral. It is because of this neutral charge that neutrons can interact with protons without an electromagnetic repulsion between them. This interaction is called a strong nuclear force.

The mass of the neutrons is 1.675 × 10-27 Kg or 0.0009396 GeV (gigalectronvolt).

Another characteristic of these particles is that they only remain stable while they are inside the nucleus, outside of it they are characterized by instability and when this happens, in a matter of minutes these neutrons disintegrate into an antineutrino and an electron, from here it results finally a proton.

In 1931, the English physicist James Chadwick discovered this subatomic particle, with a mass close to the proton, but with a neutral electric charge, and it is for this reason that it was called a neutron.

Add a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *