WhatÂ is an Atom Definition
An atom is the most discrete indivisible particle that forms an element. Atoms ofÂ the same element are identical; different elements have non-similar atoms.Â The most simple of all elements is Hydrogen.Â
Example: Hydrogen atoms are similar while Oxygen atoms are different than Hydrogen atoms. Two hydrogen atoms and one OxygenÂ combined form the water molecule H2O.
The atoms areÂ extremely small. Therefore, even the most powerful microscopes cannot see them. Actually, 6.022X10^23Â hydrogen atoms (Avogadro Number) weigh only one gram. There are 454 grams in one pound.
In order toÂ understand the nature of the atom, we shouldÂ identify the forces that are holding itÂ together. Much asÂ our plant, gravity is the force holding the moon in its orbit around the earth. Gravity is the force of attraction between two large masses.
In the case of the atom, the small size of the particles and the speed at which the electron travels would prohibit a force such as gravity from being able to hold the atom together. Scientists have learned thatÂ electrostatic forceÂ is the force that maintains the atom.
While atoms are composedÂ of small subatomic particles;Â these particles are theÂ electron, the protonÂ and theÂ neutron.Â The proton and neutron are found in the nucleus which is theÂ center of the atom. The electron is negatively charged and orbits around the nucleus.
Atoms from different elements are constitutedÂ of the same type of subatomic particles.Â However, the proportions of the subatomic particles are different for each element. Hydrogen for exampleÂ has two subatomic particles; an electron and a proton. In the case of hydrogen, a single electron orbits a single proton. ÙAn example is the moon which orbits the earth. SameÂ as in the case of earth, the proton of the hydrogen atom is much larger than the electron.
Moreover, if we add a subatomic particle to aÂ Hydrogen atom, we create another atom of another element. Note: The number ofÂ subatomic particles is what characterizes atoms of different elements.Â In addition, if we want to create a Helium atom, we should only add an additional electron, an additional proton and two neutrons to the Hydrogen atom. As a result, we’ll have two electrons orbiting four other particles, two protons and two neutrons in the nucleus.