How can we find the number of protons and electrons present in a neutral atom?

1 Answer
May 14, 2017

Answer:

Grab a Periodic Table!

Explanation:

The number of protons present inside the nucleus of a given element is given by the atomic number, which is listed in the Periodic Table of Elements.

For example, carbon, #"C"#, has an atomic number equal to #6#, which means that all carbon atoms have #6# protons inside the nucleus.

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Now, a neutral atom will always have equal numbers of protons inside the nucleus and of electrons outside the nucleus.

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This implies that for neutral atoms, the atomic number, which gives you the number of protons located inside the nucleus, will also give you the number of electrons that surround the nucleus.

In carbon's case, a neutral carbon atom has #6# protons inside the nucleus and #6# electrons outside the nucleus.

So, to figure out the number of protons and electrons present in a neutral atom, find the element in the Periodic Table and look for its atomic number.