How would you describe the structure ot an atom?

1 Answer
Sep 23, 2016

Answer:

Up to GCSE it is a very small positive nucleus which has protons and neutrons, surrounded by negative electrons in shells or energy levels around it.

Explanation:

Protons have a charge of #+1# and a relative mass of #1#
Neutrons are neutral (have no charge) and also have a mass of #1#
Electrons are negative (have a charge of #-1#) and have a negligibly small relative mass #(1/1840)#

The first energy shell contains #2# electrons and all the ones after that contain #8#.

Beyond GCSE we learn that electrons are arranged in 4 different orbitals named #s, p, d# and #f# which contain #2, 6, 10 and 14# electrons respectively.

The "first shell", known at A-level and beyond as the "principal quantum level" has a #s# orbital (which means a maximum of #2# electrons)

The second quantum level has #s and p# (which is a maximum of #2+6# or #8# electrons), the third has #s, p and d# (which means it has a maximum capacity of #18#) and the fourth has #s, p, d and f# (which means it has a maximum electron capacity of #32#).