where are electrons

Unlike protons and neutrons, which are located inside the nucleus at the center of the atom, electrons are found outside the nucleus. Because opposite electric charges attract each other, negative electrons are attracted to the positive nucleus. This force of attraction keeps electrons constantly moving through the otherwise empty space around the nucleus. The Figure shown 1.1 is a common way to represent the structure of an atom. It shows the electron as a particle orbiting the nucleus, similar to the way that planets orbit the sun.


properties of electrons

Electrons are extremely small. The mass of an electron is only about 1/2000 the mass of a proton or neutron, so electrons contribute virtually nothing to the total mass of an atom. Electrons have an electric charge of -1, which is equal but opposite to the charge of proton, which is +1. All atoms have the same number of electrons as protons, so the positive and negative charges cancel out, making atoms electrically neutral.

whats your energy level

Electrons are located at fixed distances from the nucleus, called energy levels. You can see the first three energy levels in the Figure 1.3. The diagram also shows the maximum possible number of electrons at each energy level. Electrons at lower energy levels, which are closer to the nucleus, have less energy. At the lowest energy level, which has the least energy, there is just one orbital, so this energy level has a maximum of two electrons. Only when a lower energy level is full are electrons added to the next higher energy level. Electrons at higher energy levels, which are farther from the nucleus, have more energy. They also have more orbitals and greater possible numbers of electrons. Electrons at the outermost energy level of an atom are called valence electrons. They determine many of the properties of an element. Thats because these electrons are involved in chemical reactions with other atoms. Atoms may share or transfer valence electrons. Shared electrons bind atoms together to form chemical compounds. Q: If an atom has 12 electrons, how will they be distributed in energy levels? A: The atom will have two electrons at the first energy level, eight at the second energy level, and the remaining two at the third energy level. Q: Sometimes, an electron jumps from one energy level to another. How do you think this happens? A: To change energy levels, an electron must either gain or lose energy. Thats because electrons at higher energy levels have more energy than electrons at lower energy levels.



The atomic model above is useful for some purposes, but its too simple when it comes to the location of electrons. In reality, its impossible to say what path an electron will follow. Instead, its only possible to describe the chances of finding an electron in a certain region around the nucleus. The region where an electron is most likely to be is called an orbital. Each orbital can have at most two electrons. Some orbitals, called S orbitals, are shaped like spheres, with the nucleus in the center. An S orbital is pictured in Figure 1.2. Where the dots are denser, the chance of finding an electron is greater. Also pictured in Figure 1.2 is a P orbital. P orbitals are shaped like dumbbells, with the nucleus in the pinched part of the dumbbell. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL: Q: How many electrons can there be in each type of orbital shown above? A: There can be a maximum of two electrons in any orbital, regardless of its shape. Q: Where is the nucleus in each orbital? A: The nucleus is at the center of each orbital. It is in the middle of the sphere in the S orbital and in the pinched part of the P orbital.


what are electrons

Electrons are one of three main types of particles that make up atoms. The other two types are protons and neutrons. Unlike protons and neutrons, which consist of smaller, simpler particles, electrons are fundamental particles that do not consist of smaller particles. They are a type of fundamental particles called leptons. All leptons have an electric charge of -1 or 0. Click image to the left or use the URL below. URL:

instructional diagrams

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like protons and neutrons, electrons consist of smaller particles.

a. true

-->  b. false

an electron has an electrical charge of

a) +1.

-->  b) -1.

c) 0.

d) 0 or -1.

an electron has about the same mass as a proton.

a. true

-->  b. false

atoms always have the same number of electrons as protons.

-->  a. true

b. false

what is the maximum number of electrons each orbital can hold?

a) 1

-->  b) 2

c) 4

d) 8

diagram questions

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