What is a proton? What is an atomic number?

In this article, we will explain what a proton is and how the amazing movement of protons happens. Know what’s inside the protons and when they were discovered. If you have any questions about protons, this article is full of curiosities and information that can help, let’s go, guys!

You may have no idea, but everything around us is made up of atoms! They are particles that make up matter, and each atom is divided into two parts which is the nucleus that is obviously in the central part, and also the crust outside the nucleus.

The Interior of the Atom

When we look only at the nucleus we can find two types of particles which are neutrons and protons. As the name suggests, neutral elements have neither a positive nor a negative electrical charge. While protons are very small particles that have a positive electrical charge. And around the nucleus are electrons that have a negative charge.

The atomic number of the chemical element is established by the number of protons in the nucleus. The number of atomic mass is established by the sum of the number of protons and the number of neutrons. So, the characteristics of the particles are:

  • Protons – Positive electric charge and unit mass
  • Neutrons – No electrical charge, but unit mass
  • Electrons – Negative electric charge and almost no mass

Know the main characteristics of protons and their importance!

The movement of protons

Know that these particles are not inactive inside the nucleus of the atom, they are aligned according to the magnetic field, moving in a certain direction. The name given to the movement of these particles is precession.

When there is a strong magnetic field, the protons move at high speed and this is the measure of the precession frequency, which is the number of times the protons perform the precession. Understand that the frequency is not constant, because it depends a lot on the strength of the magnetic field in which the protons are placed.

Therefore, the stronger the magnetic field, the greater the frequency of precession. It is essential that the calculation of this frequency is done accurately, and therefore the equation called “Larmor Equation” must be used.

The history of the proton

The discovery of protons happened many years ago! Its size is similar to the neutron and larger than the electron. In 1918, the New Zealander scientist Ernest Rutherford created an atomic model that proved the existence of the atomic nucleus, in addition to the presence of protons, of course.

According to this atomic model, most of the mass, in addition to all the positive charge of the atom, is concentrated in the nucleus of the atom. Therefore, outside of it there must be a number of electrons equal to the number of nuclear charge units.

Electrical loads

Several studies and experiments carried out have managed to establish the properties of the particles of the atom. When we consider its electrical charge, that of the proton is equal to +1, that of the electron is equal to -1 and the charge of the neutron is equal to 0.

In case you don’t know, electrical charges of the same intensity and opposite signals are neutralized. Therefore, the electrical charge of an electron that is negative, cancels the electrical charge of a proton that is positive. It is very important to understand that the atom will always have the same number of protons and electrons! So, it is electrically neutral.

The nucleus of atoms

In this topic we will talk more about the characteristics of the atomic nucleus and it is necessary to know that there are many different atoms. So, the aluminum atom is quite different from the gold atom, but can you tell me what is the main difference between the types of atoms?

The answer is quite simple! After many studies, the definition is that the number of protons is the main characteristic for differentiating from one atom to another. This number of protons is called the atomic number, being represented by the letter Z.

So, chemical element is the name given to the set of atoms that have the same atomic number (Z). Now you know that atoms with different amounts of protons must belong to different chemical elements.

For example, the sodium atom has 11 protons, that is, its atomic number is (Z = 11). Therefore, all atoms that have an atomic number equal to 11, belong to the chemical element sodium. Therefore, all atoms that have an atomic number other than 11, do not belong to the chemical element sodium.

When we talk about protons, naturally we will talk about atoms, electrons and neutrons, but that is not bad, because when researching a topic, we end up learning from the other components of this magnificent process.

Now you can imagine how electrical current is involved and it is important in almost every aspect. In this video below I leave a suggestion for a complete class talking in detail what electrical current is, what its main characteristics are and how it behaves in certain circuits.

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