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This illustration shows that, like planets orbiting the sun, electrons orbit the nucleus of an atom. The nucleus contains two neutrally charged neutrons, and two positively charged protons represented by spheres. A single, circular orbital surrounding the nucleus contains two negatively charged electrons on opposite sides.
Elements, such as helium, depicted here, are made up of atoms. Atoms are made up of protons and neutrons located within the nucleus, with electrons in orbitals surrounding the nucleus.

Protons and neutrons have approximately the same mass, about 1.67 × 10 -24 grams. Scientists arbitrarily define this amount of mass as one atomic mass unit (amu) or one Dalton, as shown in [link] . Although similar in mass, protons and neutrons differ in their electric charge. A proton    is positively charged whereas a neutron    is uncharged. Therefore, the number of neutrons in an atom contributes significantly to its mass, but not to its charge. Electrons are much smaller in mass than protons, weighing only 9.11 × 10 -28 grams, or about 1/1800 of an atomic mass unit. Hence, they do not contribute much to an element’s overall atomic mass. Therefore, when considering atomic mass, it is customary to ignore the mass of any electrons and calculate the atom’s mass based on the number of protons and neutrons alone. Although not significant contributors to mass, electrons do contribute greatly to the atom’s charge, as each electron has a negative charge equal to the positive charge of a proton. In uncharged, neutral atoms, the number of electrons orbiting the nucleus is equal to the number of protons inside the nucleus. In these atoms, the positive and negative charges cancel each other out, leading to an atom with no net charge.

Accounting for the sizes of protons, neutrons, and electrons, most of the volume of an atom—greater than 99 percent—is, in fact, empty space. With all this empty space, one might ask why so-called solid objects do not just pass through one another. The reason they do not is that the electrons that surround all atoms are negatively charged and negative charges repel each other.

Protons, Neutrons, and Electrons
Charge Mass (amu) Location
Proton +1 1 nucleus
Neutron 0 1 nucleus
Electron –1 0 orbitals

Atomic number and mass

Atoms of each element contain a characteristic number of protons and electrons. The number of protons determines an element’s atomic number    and is used to distinguish one element from another. The number of neutrons is variable, resulting in isotopes, which are different forms of the same atom that vary only in the number of neutrons they possess. Together, the number of protons and the number of neutrons determine an element’s mass number    , as illustrated in [link] . Note that the small contribution of mass from electrons is disregarded in calculating the mass number. This approximation of mass can be used to easily calculate how many neutrons an element has by simply subtracting the number of protons from the mass number. Since an element’s isotopes will have slightly different mass numbers, scientists also determine the atomic mass    , which is the calculated mean of the mass number for its naturally occurring isotopes. Often, the resulting number contains a fraction. For example, the atomic mass of chlorine (Cl) is 35.45 because chlorine is composed of several isotopes, some (the majority) with atomic mass 35 (17 protons and 18 neutrons) and some with atomic mass 37 (17 protons and 20 neutrons).

Questions & Answers

what is the protein found in the blood?
Tobias Reply
what is parasitic movement
Emmanuel Reply
Parasitic movement is a problem for all of us. So is its companion, parasitic tension. Parasitic movement is the excess contraction of muscles that you don't actually need to complete an action.
what are eukaryotic cells
Thiza Reply
eukaryotic cells which posses a true nucleus that is the DNA is enclosed and covered by a nuclear membrane
what is the mean of pair of chromosomes
Kazula Reply
23 haploid and 23diploid
how are you studying in this quarantine? .. how are you keeping yourselves motivated?
sivajijadhav @815.com
good morning guyz
tell me if you know what can be used...than reading pls hint me pls 🙏🙏🙏
what is the important of sex
Aremu Reply
why did human being need sex?
because he/she have feelings
reproduction...to make more
due to active harmon
One important of sex is to reproduce
to ensure the countinuty of life
all of you are right
what is momentum
Asiya Reply
The strength or force that allows something to continue or grow stronger or faster as time pass
What is Centripetal Force?
centrepital force is the inward force required to keep a body moving with constant speed in a circular path
what is the test for protein
Takii Reply
List four condition necessary for seed germination
Tedeka Reply
water, light, oxygen and temperature
water, oxygen, light temperature
water oxygen light and temperature
importance of biology
Alabina Reply
importance of boilogy
what is soil
Amina Reply
soil is the upper part of the earth
what is importance of studying biology
soil is the uppermost layer of the earth on which plant grows
soil is defined as the thin surface of the upper most layer of the earth crust on which plants grow
soil is the upper part of the earth which plants grow on
differences between euglenoid and amoeboid
Grace Reply
what are the difference between aerobic and anaerobic respiration?
Maxwell Reply
Aerobic respiration involves the use of oxygen whiles anaerobic respiration does not involve the use of oxygen
what is assmilation
Lucy Reply
what is cell
Manish Reply
cell is the structural and functional unit of life or living things
where anaerobic respiration occurre?
in cell
in cells?
where anaerobic respiration occurre in cell?

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Source:  OpenStax, Biology. OpenStax CNX. Feb 29, 2016 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11448/1.10
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