What is inside an atom?

1 Answer
Aug 29, 2016

Inside the atom are subatomic particles. electrons, neutrons, protons. The protons and neutrons are made of even smaller subatomic particles.


The inside of the atom has a nucleus which is made of protons and neutrons. The smallest atom with one proton, no neutrons and one electron is the Hydrogen atom. Its nucleus is a single proton.

Larger atoms have both protons and neutrons. The protons have a positive charge and would push against each other and fly apart if the neutrons were not there to hold the nucleus together. Atoms like Oxygen number 8 have equal numbers of protons and neutrons. Large atoms like Uranium number 92 have more neutrons than protons (# U_92^238#) . Uranium 238 has 146 neutrons to only 92 protons.

The volume of the atom is made by rapidly moving electrons. These electrons create an electron cloud. The energy of the moving electrons fills the space like the spinning propeller of an airplane. These electrons move randomly in mathematically defined energy shells.

These three main subatomic particles are made of even smaller particles that scientists are learning more about all the time.