|Element Definition: A chemical element is a substance that cannot be broken down by chemical means. Elements are defined by the number of protons they possess.
Table of Contents
These are the first 20 elements, listed in order:
1 – H – Hydrogen
States of Matter – Elements
Atoms are the basic units of matter and the defining structure of elements. Atoms are made up of three particles: protons, neutrons and electrons.
Protons and neutrons are heavier than electrons and reside in the center of the atom, which is called the nucleus. Electrons are extremely lightweight and exist in a cloud orbiting the nucleus. The electron cloud has a radius 10,000 times greater than the nucleus.
Protons and neutrons have approximately the same mass. However, one proton weighs more than 1,800 electrons. Atoms always have an equal number of protons and electrons, and the number of protons and neutrons is usually the same as well. Adding a proton to an atom makes a new element, while adding a neutron makes an isotope, or heavier version, of that atom.
The nucleus was discovered in 1911, but its parts were not identified until 1932. Virtually all the mass of the atom resides in the nucleus. The nucleus is held together by the “strong force,” one of the four basic forces in nature. This force between the protons and neutrons overcomes the repulsive electrical force that would, according to the rules of electricity, push the protons apart otherwise.
Protons are positively charged particles found within atomic nuclei. They were discovered by Ernest Rutherford in experiments conducted between 1911 and 1919.
The number of protons in an atom defines what element it is. For example, carbon atoms have six protons, hydrogen atoms have one and oxygen atoms have eight. The number of protons in an atom is referred to as the atomic number of that element. The number of protons in an atom also determines the chemical behavior of the element. The Periodic Table of the Elements arranges elements in order of increasing atomic number.
Protons are made of other particles called quarks. There are three quarks in each proton — two “up” quarks and one “down” quark — and they are held together by other particles called gluons.
Electrons have a negative charge and are electrically attracted to the positively charged protons. Electrons surround the atomic nucleus in pathways called orbitals. The inner orbitals surrounding the atom are spherical but the outer orbitals are much more complicated.
An atom’s electron configuration is the orbital description of the locations of the electrons in an unexcited atom. Using the electron configuration and principles of physics, chemists can predict an atom’s properties, such as stability, boiling point and conductivity.
Typically, only the outermost electron shells matter in chemistry. The inner electron shell notation is often truncated by replacing the long-hand orbital description with the symbol for a noble gas in brackets. This method of notation vastly simplifies the description for large molecules.
For example, the electron configuration for beryllium (Be) is 1s22s2, but it’s is written [He]2s2. [He] is equivalent to all the electron orbitals in a helium atom. The Letters, s, p, d, and f designate the shape of the orbitals and the superscript gives the number of electrons in thatorbital.
Neutrons are uncharged particles found within atomic nuclei. A neutron’s mass is slightly larger than that of a proton. Like protons, neutrons are also made of quarks — one “up” quark and two “down” quarks. Neutrons were discovered by James Chadwick in 1932.
The mass number (A), also called atomic mass number or nucleon number, is the total number of protons and neutrons (together known as nucleons) in an atomic nucleus. It determines the atomic mass of atoms. Because protons and neutrons both are baryons, the mass number A is identical with the baryon number B as of the nucleus as of the whole atom or ion. The mass number is different for each different isotope of a chemical element. This is not the same as the atomic number (Z) which denotes the number of protons in a nucleus, and thus uniquely identifies an element. Hence, the difference between the mass number and the atomic number gives the number of neutrons (N) in a given nucleus: N=A−Z.
The mass number is written either after the element name or as a superscript to the left of an element’s symbol. For example, the most common isotope of carbon is carbon-12, or 12C, which has 6 protons and 6 neutrons. The full isotope symbol would also have the atomic number (Z) as a subscript to the left of the element symbol directly below the mass number: 12
The atomic number of a chemical element (also known as its proton number) is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom of that element, and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element. In an uncharged atom, the atomic number is also equal to the number of electrons.
1.Write the symbols of the first twenty elements.
2.Classify the first twenty elements into the three states of matter.
3.Define atomic number and mass number.