structure of atom

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Structure Of Atom

Index :

Index Thomson's model of the atom Rutherford's atomic model Bohr's model of electrons Atomic number and mass number Isotopes

Thomson's model of the atom:

Thomson's model of the atom Atoms and molecules are the fundamental building blocks of matter. The presence of matter around us in different forms is a result of the difference in atoms constituting them. Till the 19 th century, Dalton’s atomic theory captured the minds of people. His theory stated that atoms are indivisible, but soon it was observed that atoms are not indivisible.

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Many scientists have performed various experiments to verify the presence of charged particles in atoms. J.J. Thomson identified electrons (negatively charged particles), while E. Goldstein discovered protons (positively charged particles) present in atoms. As an atom is always neutral, the number of electrons is equal to the number of protons present in an atom. The next challenge for the scientists was to suggest a model for the atoms i.e. an arrangement of the subatomic particles in the atom.

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Sir J. J Thomson, credited for the discovery of electrons, proposed the first model for atoms. His proposal stated that the model of an atom is similar to the model of a plum pudding or watermelon. Thomson’s model can be explained with the help of a watermelon. He said that the positive charge in the atom is spread all over like the red edible part of the watermelon. Also, the electrons are embedded in the positively charged sphere like the seeds in the watermelon (as shown in the given figure).

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Explanation of Thomson’s model . Hence , according to Thomson’s atomic model: An atom consists of a positively charged sphere with electrons embedded in it. The negative and positive charges present inside an atom are equal in magnitude. Therefore, an atom as a whole is electrically neutral .

Electrons:

Electrons Thomson’s model of the atom is also known as the plum pudding model . Thomson’s model of the atom became very popular as it proved that atoms are neutral entities. However, this model was not able to explain the results of experiments obtained by other scientists such as Earnest Rutherford, who was performing experiments on radioactivity. Positively charged sphere

Rutherford's Atomic Model:

Rutherford's Atomic Model Ernest Rutherford, while performing experiments on radioactivity, bombarded fast moving alpha particles on a thin gold foil (about 1000 atoms thick). He selected the gold foil because of its high ductility; and doubly charged alpha particles because of their large amount of energy. He expected to see small deflections of alpha particles by the sub-atomic particles present in gold atoms. The following figure shows the set-up of his experiment .

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From the experiment, he made the following observations: Most of the fast moving α-particles passed straight through the gold foil. Some α-particles were deflected through the foil by small angles. Surprisingly, one out of every 12,000 particles rebounded i.e., they got deflected by an angle of 180º.

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Deflection pattern of alpha rays as observed by Rutherford

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Rutherford derived the following conclusions from the gold foil experiment: 1. Since most α-particles passed through the gold foil without any deflection, most of the space inside an atom is empty. 2. Very few particles suffered a deflection from their path. This means that positive charge occupies very little space inside an atom. 3. As a small fraction of particles got deflected completely by the angle of 180º, all positive charge and mass of gold atoms are present within a very small volume inside the atom.

Explanation of α-particle scattering experiment:

Explanation of α-particle scattering experiment

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Rutherford gave a new atomic model known as the Rutherford atomic model or nuclear model of the atom. The major features of the model are as follows. 1 All protons are present inside the nucleus, which is situated at the centre of the atom. 2. Electrons reside outside the nucleus and revolve around the nucleus in well-defined orbits. 3. The size of the nucleus is very small in comparison to the size of an atom. As per Rutherford’s calculations, the size of the nucleus is 105 times smaller than an atom. 4. As the mass of the electron is negligible in comparison to the mass of the proton, almost all the mass of the atom is concentrated in the nucleus.

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Rutherford’s atomic model

Drawbacks of Rutherford’s nuclear model :

Drawbacks of Rutherford’s nuclear model The Rutherford’s model explains the structure of atom in a very simple way. But, it suffers from the following drawbacks 1. An electron revolving around the nucleus gets accelerated towards the nucleus. According to the electromagnetic theory, an accelerating charged particle must emit radiation, and lose energy. Because of this loss of energy, the electron would slow down, and will not be able to withstand the attraction of the nucleus. As a result, the electron should follow a spiral path, and ultimately fall into nucleus. If it happens then the atom should collapse in about 10-8 second. But, this does not happen: atoms are stable. This indicates that there is something wrong in the Rutherford’ mass nuclear model of atom. .

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2. The Rutherford’s model of atom does not say anything about the arrangement of electrons in an atom. Therefore, Rutherford's model was not accepted.

Bohr's Model Of Electrons:

Bohr's Model Of Electrons Rutherford’s atomic model was able to explain all the observations except the stability of atoms. In 1913, Niels Bohr gave some postulates to explain the structure of atoms and the distribution of charged particles in it. Bohr’s postulates: Only certain special orbits known as discrete orbits of electrons are allowed inside the atom. While revolving in discrete orbits, the electrons do not radiate energy.

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Bohr named these orbits as energy levels . These orbits or shells are represented by the letters K, L, M, N …, or the numbers n = 1, 2, 3, 4…etc.

Merits of Bohr’s Model :

Merits of Bohr’s Model Bohr’s model explains the arrangement and distribution of electrons in an extra nuclear space. He successfully explained the stability of atoms by his proposal of the presence of energy levels around the nucleus of the atoms in which the electrons revolve without radiating energy.

Discovery of the Neutrons:

Discovery of the Neutrons In 1932, J. Chadwick discovered another subatomic particle and named it neutron . It has no charge and has a mass nearly equal to that of a proton. Neutrons are present in the nuclei of all atoms, except hydrogen. It is generally represented by ‘N ’. The mass of the neutron has been found to be 1.6749 × 10 −27 kg, which is slightly more than that of the proton. Hence, the mass of the atom is equal to the sum of the masses of protons and neutrons present in the nucleus.

Distribution of the electrons in the nucleus:

Distribution of the electrons in the nucleus The number of electrons that a particular orbit can accommodate is fixed. Therefore, the number of electrons present in different orbits is different. Bohr and Bury together suggested certain rules to show how electrons are distributed in different orbits. These rules have to be followed for writing the number of electrons in different energy levels.

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First rule: The maximum number of electrons present in a shell is given by the formula 2 n ² , where ‘ n ’ is the orbit number or energy level index (1, 2, 3…). Hence, the maximum number of electrons that different shells can accommodate is as follows: First orbit or K -shell can accommodate maximally 2 x 1² = 2 electrons. Second orbit or L -shell can accommodate maximally 2 x 2² = 8 electrons. Third orbit or M -shell can accommodate maximally 2 x 3² = 18 electrons. Fourth orbit or N- shell can accommodate maximally 2 x 4² = 32 electrons.

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Second rule: The maximum number of electrons that can be accommodated in the outermost orbit is eight. Third rule: Electrons cannot be filled in the outer shell until the inner shells are completely filled. This means that shells are filled in a step-wise manner, starting from the inner shell.

Valency:

Valency From the Bohr-Bury scheme, we know that the outermost shell of an atom can hold a maximum of eight electrons. The elements, whose atoms have a completely filled outermost shell, have very little chemical activity. Such elements are said to have zero combining capacity or valency . For e.g., neon atom has eight electrons in its outermost shell. It cannot hold more than eight electrons. Hence, its valency is zero. We all know that neon is inert in nature.

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The combining capacity of atoms of the elements is their tendency to react with other atoms of the same or different molecules to attain a filled outermost shell. The outermost shell, which has eight electrons, is said to possess an octet and every atom tends to achieve an octet in its outermost shell. This is done by gaining, losing, or sharing its electrons. The number of electrons gained, lost, or shared by an atom to complete its octet is called the combining capacity or valency of that atom. Both hydrogen and sodium contain one electron each in their outermost shells. Thus, both can lose one electron. Hence, their valency is one.

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It is not always true that the number of electrons present in the outermost shell of an atom represents its valency. For example, in fluorine, there are seven electrons in the outermost shell, but the valency of fluorine is one. This is because it is energetically suitable for fluorine atom to accept one electron, rather than donate seven electrons. Hence, its valency is obtained by subtracting seven electrons from the octet.

Atomic Number and Mass Number:

Atomic Number and Mass Number

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The number of protons present in hydrogen, carbon, and sodium are 1, 6, and 11 respectively. Hence, the atomic number of hydrogen, carbon, and sodium is 1, 6, and 11 respectively.

MASS NUMBER:

MASS NUMBER The mass of an atom is equal to the number of protons and neutrons present in that atom, because the mass of electrons is very less and is considered negligible when compared to the mass of protons and neutrons. Protons and neutrons are present inside the nucleus of an atom. Hence, protons and neutrons are also called nucleons . Thus, the mass of an atom resides in its nucleus.

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The mass number is defined as the sum of the total number of protons and neutrons present inside the nucleus of an atom. The mass number is usually denoted by ‘ A ’. The unit used to represent the mass number is unified atomic mass unit i.e. ‘u’. The general representation or symbolic notation to represent an atom with its atomic number and mass number is shown below. Here , ‘E’ is the symbol of the element, ‘ Z’ is the atomic number, and ‘ A’ is the mass number.

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Relation between the Atomic Mass and Mass Number of an Atom: Mass number (A) of an atom = Number of protons + Number of neutrons Therefore, Mass number (A) = Atomic number (Z) + Number of neutrons Therefore, Number of neutrons = A - Z Hence, the number of neutrons can be calculated if the atomic number and mass number of an element are known.

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An atom of sodium contains 11 protons and 12 neutrons. Now , mass number (A) = number of protons + number of neutrons Therefore, mass number of sodium atom = 11 + 12 = 23 Hence, the mass number of sodium is 23 u.

Isotopes:

Isotopes Unlike the mass number, the atomic number is unique for an element. In nature, a number of atoms of some elements have been identified having the same atomic number, but different mass numbers. Such atoms are known as isotopes . Isotopes are defined as atoms having the same atomic number, but different mass numbers. These atoms contain an equal number of protons and electrons, but a different number of neutrons.

Applications:

Applications In nature, an element is found as a mixture of its isotopes. The chemical properties of all isotopes of an element are the same, but physical properties are different. Therefore, the isotopes of some elements have specific properties that make them very useful. For example, an isotope of uranium exhibits nuclear fission properties. It is used in nuclear reactions as a fuel. An isotope of cobalt is used to treat cancer, and an isotope of iodine is used to treat goitre .

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Isobars Isobars are atoms of different elements having the same mass number . These elements have an equal number of nucleons, but different number of protons, neutrons, and electrons.

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