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"#$%& (")*&"*)+

,)#"#-./ -+*")#-. 0-1 +2+&")#-.

Many mllllons of Llny llLLle aLoms make up all elemenLs and Lherefore compounds. 1hey are
so small lL's very hard Lo lmaglne.

Lven smaller agaln, Lhe aLom ls made from Lhe sub aLomlc parLlcles: proLons, neuLrons and

ulfferenL elemenLs slmply have dlfferenL numbers of proLons, neuLrons or elecLrons.

1he Lable below shows a comparlson beLween Lhese parLlcles.

1he word relaLlve" ls Lhere as we are dlrecLly comparlng Lhe charge and mass of [usL Lhese
Lhree parLlcles, so Lhe values are relaLlve Lo each oLher.

,0)"%&2+ 3+20"%4+ 560)7+ 3+20"%4+ 80..
roLon +1 1
neuLron neuLral (or zero) 1
LlecLron -1 1/1836

WlLhouL looklng Loo much lnLo Lhe exacL welghLs, you need Lo know LhaL elecLrons are very
small ln comparlson Lo proLons and neuLrons.

!usL for fun, an elecLron roughly welghs 6.63 x 10

960" "6+ 0"#$ 2##:. 2%:+

1he aLom ls very slmple, lL conslsLs of a poslLlvely charged nucleus wlLh negaLlvely charged
elecLrons whlzzlng all around lL. 1he aLom ls held LogeLher by Lhe elecLrosLaLlc aLLracLlon
beLween Lhese poslLlve and negaLlve charges.

1he nucleus ls made up from Lhe proLons and neuLrons. MosL of Lhe mass ls ln Lhe nucleus as
Lhe elecLrons are so llghL ln comparlson.

LlecLrons don'L [usL fly around any old sLyle, Lhey do have a blL of sLrucLure, wlLh some
elecLrons closer Lo Lhe nucleus Lhan oLhers. We wlll look aL Lhls ln more deLall ln Lhe
elecLronlc sLrucLure LuLorlal.


1he perlodlc Lable ls your frlend. 1here ls a loL of very useful lnformaLlon you can geL from
uslng lL properly.

ln Lerms of Lhls aLomlc sLuff, we are uslng Lhe perlodlc Lable Lo look for Lhe numbers of
proLons, neuLrons and elecLrons ln dlfferenL elemenLs.

Cenerally, lf you plck an elemenL, for example, sodlum, lL wlll say:

lrom Lhls lnformaLlon you can work ouL Lhe number of proLons, neuLrons and elecLrons.

=6+ $0.. -*$<+) > "6+ -*$<+) #? @)#"#-. @2*. "6+ -*$<+) #? -+*")#-.A

=6+ 0"#$%& -*$<+) > "6+ -*$<+) #? @)#"#-. B#) "6+ -*$<+) #? +2+&")#-.C

lmmedlaLely we can say LhaL:

number of proLons = 11

number of elecLrons = 11

lf we subLracL Lhe aLomlc number from Lhe mass number we geL Lhe number of neuLrons,

number of neuLrons = 23-11 = 12

D#"+E 8emember LhaL for an elemenL or a compound, Lhe number of proLons and Lhe
number of elecLrons musL equal each oLher as Lhe overall charge ls 0 or neuLral.

1he neuLrons are noL charged so you can have a dlfferenL number of Lhose.


1he only Llme Lhe number of proLons and elecLrons wlll dlffer ls when we are looklng aL lons
l.e. an lon has a negaLlve or poslLlve charge.

A poslLlve lon wlll have more proLons Lhan elecLrons and a negaLlve lon wlll have more
elecLrons Lhan proLons.

lor example, Lhe magneslum lon, Mg
, Lo work ouL Lhe number of proLons, neuLrons and
elecLrons for Lhe lon, we flrsLly sLarL aL Lhe perlodlc Lable agaln.

We can lnsLanLly see LhaL Mg has 12 proLons (and Lherefore 12 elecLrons). lf we do 24-12
Lhen we geL Lhe number of neuLrons, whlch ls also 12.

"#$$ %&'()*
+,-'./ %&'()*

So for Mg
, we need Lo 2#.+ G +2+&")#-. Lo geL Lhe 2+ charge, so we can say LhaL Lhe lon has
12 proLons and neuLrons buL only 10 elecLrons.

=%@E some sLudenLs don'L undersLand whaL a '+' charge means on an lon. A poslLlve charge
Lells you LhaL you have 2#." +2+&")#-. and how many. 1he mlsconcepLlon ls LhaL a '+' means
addlLlonal elecLrons.

?ou have Lo look aL lL as an lncrease ln poslLlve charge or a loss of negaLlve charge.


AnoLher varlaLlon on all Lhls number of proLons, neuLrons and elecLrons sLuff ls lsoLopes.

An lsoLope ls aLoms of Lhe .0$+ +2+$+-" LhaL has a dlfferenL number of -+*")#-. (Lhe
number of proLons and elecLrons don'L change).

8elow are Lhe Lwo lsoLopes of chlorlne. We can see LhaL Lhere are 17 proLons ln each and
Lherefore 17 elecLrons.

We can also see LhaL Lhe mass number ln Lhe flrsL example ls 33 and 37 ln Lhe second
example. 1hls means LhaL Lhe number of proLons musL be dlfferenL.

We have 33-17 = 18 neuLrons and 37-17 = 20 neuLrons

ln Lhe perlodlc Lable you wlll flnd LhaL chlorlne has a mass number of 33.3, whlch ls an
average of lLs Lwo lsoLopes.

Chemlcal reacLlvlLy ls dependenL on Lhe elecLrons, so lf lsoLopes have Lhe same number of
elecLrons, Lhen Lhey wlll have Lhe same reacLlvlLy and properLles5