UKPCS Science Chemistry: Atomic structure #1

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Oracle IAS, the best coaching institute for UPSC/IAS/PCS preparation in Dehradun brings to you UKPCS Science Chemistry (paper 6). 

Atomic structure

All material things are made from atoms. There are just over one hundred different types of atom, called elements. Atoms can join together in millions of different combinations to make all the substances on Earth and beyond.

What is an atom? What are atoms made of?

  • Atoms are the basic building blocks of ordinary matter. Atoms can join together to form molecules, which in turn form most of the objects around you.
  • Atoms are composed of particles called protons, electrons and neutrons. Protons carry a positive electrical charge, electrons carry a negative electrical charge and neutrons carry no electrical charge at all. The protons and neutrons cluster together in the central part of the atom, called the nucleus, and the electrons ‘orbit’ the nucleus. A particular atom will have the same number of protons and electrons and most atoms have at least as many neutrons as protons.
  • Every atom is made of a nucleusconsisting of protons and neutrons. The nucleus is surrounded by electrons. Protons and electrons are oppositely charged. Neutrons have no charge. This means the nucleus of an atom is always positively charged.
  • An atom has a neutraloverall charge because it has the same number of electrons as protons.

Protons and neutrons have the same mass. Electrons have such a small mass that this can usually be taken as zero.


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