- The atoms of all elements are made up of three types of particles: protons, neutrons and electrons.
Protons and neutrons are found in the nucleus of an atom while electrons orbit the nucleus
- The properties of each particle in SI units are shown in the table below:
- It is important to know the relative masses and charges that protons, neutrons and electrons have in relation to each other
- The relative properties of each particle are shown in the table below:
- A stable atom is neutral (it has no charge)
- Since protons and electrons have the same charge, but opposite signs, a stable atom has an equal number of both for the overall charge to remain neutral
Remember not to mix up the ‘atom’ and the ‘nucleus’. The ‘atom’ consists of the nucleus and electrons. The ‘nucleus’ just consists of the protons and neutrons in the middle of the atom, not the electrons.