In a sample of the element potassium, what does each atom contain?

1 Answer
Jun 10, 2017

Have you got a Periodic Table........?


An atom of potassium contains PRECISELY 19 protons, 19 massive, positively charged #"nucular particles"#. And thus #Z," the atomic number,"=19#, which specifies the element to be potassium. And because this was a NEUTRAL potassium atom, there were also 19 electrons, 19 extranuclear particles of negligible mass that are conceived to whizz about the nuclear core.......

Within the nucleus there are also about 20 neutrons, 20 massive particles with ZERO charge. The neutrons and protons engage in the strong nuclear force, which, at such short internuclear ranges, engage in the strong nuclear force, that is sufficient to overcome the electrostatic repulsion that would tend to force the protons apart.

The presence of 20 or 21 or 19 neutrons within the nucleus gives rise to the phenomenon of #"isotopes"#, which are the same atom (i.e. because #Z=19# still, but have a slightly different mass.