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What Is The Relationship Between Protons, Neutrons, And Electrons?

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Samuel Chiltern Profile
Samuel Chiltern answered
All matter in the universe is composed of an intricate mesh of molecules, which - when further subdivided - reveal their composite atoms.

Atoms can be analysed in further depth by considering their sub-atomic structure, which is composed of protons, neutrons and electrons.

Subatomic Particles

One can imagine an atom to be similar to a planet, in that it has a core (otherwise known as a nucleus), and one or more orbiting bodies. In the case of an atom, these would be the electrons.

Protons and neutrons are known as hadrons. Protons carry a positive electrical charge, and are composed of three even-smaller particles called quarks.

Neutrons carry a neutral charge, and are also made up of three quarks - meaning that they have virtually identical mass to protons.

Protons and neutrons bind together to form the nucleus of the atom.

Electrons carry a negative electrical charge. They are much smaller than the other two particles and orbit the nucleus. Their position outside the nucleus makes it possible for them to break away from the atom and to form bonds with other atoms, thereby making the process of chemical bonding possible.

All stable atoms have an equal number of these three particles, and are therefore electrically-neutral, with the positive charge of protons being cancelled out by the negative charge of their complement of electrons.

Hydrogen is the only exception to this rule - it is the lightest element in the periodic table, possessing only a single proton and electron.
Anonymous Profile
Anonymous answered
Neutrons and electrons are both found in the nucleus of an atom. Electrons have a negative charge, protons have a positive charge and neutrons have a neutral charge. Generally, there are the same amount of protons and electrons in an atom.


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