Principle Chemistry Research

Freshman (College 1st year) ・Chemistry ・MLA

Question: What are the essential parts of atom and how they contribute to the standard characteristics of an atom?

An atom is composed of three basic components including electron, proton and neutron, the number and orientation of which inner and around nucleus define characteristic features of the atom. Protons and neutrons remain at the core of the atom; the combinedly form the nucleus of an atom. On the other hand, electrons revolve round the nucleus in predefined orbits and orbitals and determines physical and chemical properties of an atom.

Each atom incorporates equal number of protons and electrons and a certain range of neutrons. The combination of the number of these three particles play the key role in making matters different in physical and chemical properties. Since electron and proton carry opposite charges (electron carries negative and proton carries positive charges), an atom remains charge neutral as a whole. On the other hand, a neutron carries no charge and hence does not contribute to the charge of an atom. It remains stick at the center of the a atom along with protons through strong nuclear force. In order to detach a proton or a neutron from the nucleus of an atom requires a massive amount of energy, which is not possible to supply in normal condition. This is why the nucleus of an atom remains stable in normal condition. Obviously, the breaking of a nucleus releases a large amount of energy, which is why nuclear reactions are highly dangerous to control. 

The mass of a proton and a neutron are almost identical and are used as the unit atomic mass. These two masses are concentrated at the nucleus of the atom. Since the mass of an electron is negligible as compared to unit atomic mass, the mass of total protons and neutrons of an atom are considered to be its atomic mass. Electrons in an atom revolve around the nucleus in different orbit and orbitals that has predefined shapes and distances from the nucleus. Based on the number of electrons, different orbits and orbitals are present in an atom. Based on the number of electrons in the outer most shell of an orbit i.e. in orbital, the physical and chemical property of an atom is determined. 

The knowledge about the three building blocks of an atom is highly important for me to develop my understanding into physical chemistry. I find the knowledge interesting that triggers my interest in chemistry. I have learnt the electronic configuration of an atom based on the orientation and number of electrons in an atom and started to understand how it contributes to different properties of a matter. I am eagerly waiting to study periodic table, where the knowledge of electronic configuration and atomic particles will come in handy. Now I am able to understand why different atoms behave differently under similar conditions and the reason for activity and inertness of different materials in room temperature. In short, I have started enjoying the course as soon as I could understand the basic of three particles and electronic configuration. 

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