What is the difference between atoms?

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What is the difference between atoms?

Translated, "atom" means indivisible. He called it so because for a long time he was considered the smallest part of the substance. But the further development of science has shown that this is not the case. So, let's see what the atom consists of and how the atoms of different elements differ.

Atomic structure

Today science knows 126 types of chemical elements. The general plan of the structure of their atoms is the same. Each of them has a nucleus consisting of protons and neutrons around which electrons rotate. Electrons are negatively charged particles. As they rotate, an electron cloud is formed around the nucleus.

Protons are positively charged particles. At rest in the atom contains the same number of protons and electrons, therefore, such a chemical element has no electric charge. However, in the course of reactions, it can donate an electron to other elements, turning into a positively charged particle, or take them away, becoming a negatively charged particle. Neutrons do not carry any charge, but affect the mass of the element.For protons and neutrons, a unifying name was invented - nucleons.

Atoms of various elements

Atoms of different elements differ from each other in the number of protons in the nucleus. The number of electrons can vary, and protons - never. How many protons are contained in the nucleus can be recognized by the ordinal number of the element in the periodic table. Hydrogen (No. 1) at rest has 1 electron and 1 proton, and lithiumAtoms(№3) - 3 electrons and 3 protons, with carbon (№6) - 6 electrons and 6 protons.

Since the number of protons in different atoms is different, their masses also differ. The mass of an element is mainly formed by protons and neutrons, because the weight of electrons is negligible. But even the atoms of the same element may have different weight due to the different number of neutrons in the nucleus. Atoms in which the number of neutrons differs from the number of protons are called isotopes. For example, in nature there are carbon atoms C12 (6 protons and 6 neutrons), C13 (6 protons and 7 neutrons) and other types with a neutron content from 2 to 16.