While reading about protons and neutrons, many students ask the question what is the smallest particle of an element?
These particles are known as atoms, and many scientists believe that the atom is the smallest particle of any element. While this is partially true, it was later discovered that an atom is made up of different sub-parts, namely electrons, protons, and nucleus.
Atoms are the particles that form the fundamental building blocks of matter and structural elements. Because atoms were formerly regarded as the smallest things in the universe and could not be separated, the term atom derives from the Greek word for indivisible.
Protons and neutrons are made up of three quarks. The speed of a quark depends on the number of protons and neutrons. The protons and neutrons will subsequently combine for creating the nuclei. When the universe was formed after the Big Bang, hydrogen and helium were the first atoms and as a matter of fact, they still are the most abundant atoms in the universe.
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What is an atom?
The smallest unit of matter that makes up an element is called an atom. Neutral or ionized atoms make up all matter, liquid, gas, and solid. Atoms are extremely small and measure 100 picometers in diameter.
Protons, neutrons, and electrons are the three constituent pieces of the current model of the atom. Each of these components has a charge connected with it, with protons having a positive charge, electrons having a negative charge, and neutrons having no charge at all. Protons and neutrons form the nucleus of the atom, according to the Standard Model of particles physics, while electrons orbit it in a 'cloud.'
The nucleus makes up more than 99.94% of the mass of an atom. The number of proton-neutron pairs will determine how fast the particles in an atom will move.
Why is an atom the smallest particle of an element?
Now that we know that the atom is the smallest particle of an element, you may wonder what is the reason behind it? The answers to your questions regarding the atom being the smallest particle of an element with the properties of the bulk element lie in Dalton’s theory of atoms.
This theory was put forth by John Dalton, who was a chemist from Britain. He built upon several principles from Democritus and added some of his own notions. Some of the ideas that he put forth about atoms stated that they could neither be generated nor destroyed, and different atoms of different elements will exhibit different qualities and will have different weights. He further added that for an element, all the atoms will be precisely similar and that for creating matter, atoms must combine in simple and whole numbers.
Are all elements made of atoms?
Yes, since all elements are made up of a single atom, it would be right to say that all elements are made up of atoms. But what is the reason behind it? Well, we have the answers for you!
In order to understand the creation of elements, it is essential to take into account the atom, which is the building block of every element and possesses all properties of an element. For example, one atom of copper will exhibit all properties of copper, such as remaining solid at room temperature. It is not possible to break down copper atoms into smaller units.
Protons have a positive electric energy charge, while electrons have a negative charge and neutrons don't have any. If the number of protons and electrons in an atom is equal, it is electrically neutral. When an atom contains more or fewer electrons than protons, it has a negative or positive overall charge, and these atoms are known as ions.
What are the different types of atoms?
Now that we’ve discussed the atom and how it is the smallest unit that makes up an element. The question is how many types of atoms are there and what are the different types of atoms? There are many different types of atoms, including isotopes, stable atoms, and radioactive atoms. You may have also heard of the term molecule, a molecule is when two or more atoms are joined together.
Isotopes are atoms in a chemical element with differing quantities of a neutron than a proton and electrons and have different properties. Each atom's number of protons and electrons of the same element is the same, but the number of neutrons might vary. This is because an unstable atom contains too much internal energy, which causes the nucleus to spontaneously transition into a more stable state. This is referred to as 'radioactive decay.' Each element exists in the form of isotopes, which are atoms with varying-sized nuclei. Isotopes release energy in the form of radiation as they decay.
On Earth, hydrogen is a common element. Hydrogen has an atomic number of one, and its nucleus contains one proton. The hydrogen atom possesses one electron as well. The hydrogen atom is neutral because it consists of the same number of protons and electrons. However, one out of every 6,000 hydrogen atoms has a neutron in its nucleus. Because of the same number of electrons and protons, these atoms are still hydrogen; they only lack a neutron that ordinary hydrogen atoms do. Isotopes are the names given to these atoms.
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