# Can the number of nuclear protons change in a chemical reaction? What charged particles are contained in a "sulfur atom", and a "sulfide ion"?

Mar 5, 2017

Absolutely not.

#### Explanation:

Sulfur has $Z = 16$, i.e. there are 16 protons in each and every sulfur nucleus. This is what defines sulfur as sulfur. The charge on the ion depends on the excess or deficiency of electrons.

Charge is conserved in every chemical reaction. And thus if we have ${S}^{2 -}$, there must be $\text{18 electrons}$.

Mar 5, 2017

No.

#### Explanation:

It's very important to keep in mind that the number of protons never changes when dealing with the ion of a chemical element.

The only thing that changes is the number of electrons that surround the nucleus of the atom.

In your case, sulfur, $\text{S}$, is located period 3, group 16 of the Periodic Table of Elements and has an atomic number equal to $16$.

This means that a neutral atom of sulfur contains $16$ protons inside its nucleus and $16$ electrons surrounding its nucleus.

Now, in order for sulfur to become an anion, it must gain electrons. The number of protons inside its nucleus will always remain constant. Changing the number of protons will change the identity of the element, which is not what we want here.

So, the sulfur anion ${\text{S}}^{2 -}$, carries a $2 -$ charge because it has gained $2$ electrons.

You can thus say that the ${\text{S}}^{2 -}$ anion contains

• $16$ protons inside its nucleus $\to$ itm ust contain $16$ in order to remain n atom of sulfur
• $18$ electrons surrounding its nucleus

Mar 5, 2017