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By Nick Wagner

• An atom is the smallest unit of matter • Each element has an unique atom • Atoms are made up of three different components: • Protons • Neutrons • Electrons

• Protons are found in the nucleus of an atom • Protons are positively charged • The number of protons in the nucleus identifies the atom, so no two atoms have the same number of protons (unless of course they are of the same element) • The number of protons in an atom is represented by it’s atomic number • Protons have a mass of 1 amu (atomic mass unit)

• Neutrons are found in an atom’s nucleus • Neutrons are neutrally charged; neither positive nor negative • Neutrons space out protons in the nucleus, and prevent the from coming in contact with each other, and being repelled, which could potentially destroy the atom. • The number of neutrons in an atom can be found by subtracting the atomic number from the atomic mass of an atom • Neutrons have a mass of 1 amu

• Electrons are found in orbit around an atom’s nucleus • Electrons are negatively charged • Electrons are used in chemical bonding between atoms. They can be transferred (ionic bonding) or shared (covalent bonding). • The number of electrons is equal to the number of protons (so the atom is neutrally charged) and the atomic number • Electrons are much smaller than protons and neutrons, and have a mass of 1/1837 amu

Components of an Atom  

A PowerPoint detailing the different components of an atom.

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