Chemistry » Essential Ideas in Chemistry » Structure of the Atom

Structure of the Atom

Structure of the Atom

As a result of the work done by previous scientists on atomic models, scientists now have a good idea of what an atom looks like. This knowledge is important because it helps us to understand why materials have different properties and why some materials bond with others. Let us now take a closer look at the microscopic structure of the atom (what the atom looks like inside).

So far, we have discussed that atoms are made up of a positively charged nucleus surrounded by one or more negatively charged electrons. These electrons orbit the nucleus.

Before we look at some useful concepts we first need to understand what electrons, protons and neutrons are.

The Electron

The electron is a very tiny particle. It has a mass of \(\text{9.11} \times \text{10}^{-\text{31}}\) \(\text{kg}\). The electron carries one unit of negative electric charge (i.e. \(-\text{1.6} \times \text{10}^{-\text{19}}\) \(\text{C}\)).

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