A neutral atom of sodium has 11 protons. How do you use this information to explain the total number of electrons that are in a sodium atom?

1 Answer
Dec 29, 2016

If there are #11# positive particles..........


Simple considerations of electrostatics dictate that if such a species is NEUTRAL, there must also be 11 negative particles also associated with the atom.

Note that the use of the terms, #"positive"# and #"negative"#, are entirely arbitrary. The designation of #+# and #-# just means that the proton and the electron HAVE OPPOSITE electric charge. I can remember back in quantum chemistry getting the right magnitude on an answer, but the wrong sign, simply because I counted a wrong number of electrons. Had the electrons been originally designated a positive charge, I would not have had this problem.