Category Science

How to Find an Atom’s Mass and Size.

In the previous post, we were discussing “What gives at atom its mass and size”. Today, we’ll look at how to find an individual atom’s mass and size.

How to find the atom’s mass.

This one is easy!

Grab a periodic table and take a look at it. Next to each the elements’ symbol you will find the atomic mass.

For example, let’s look at the element nitrogen.

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- On the periodic table nitrogen’s atomic mass is shown below the symbol as 14.007.

- If your periodic table doesn’t show the atomic mass on it, it would be fairly easy to estimate what the atomic mass would be.

- Remember the protons + neutrons in the nucleus make up the mass of an atom.

- To estimate the atomic mass of an element – add the number of protons and neutrons together.

- On the periodic table, the atomic number above the s...

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What Gives an Atom its Mass and Size?

Following up on the previous post on “What is an atom and why are atoms important?”, we are now going to find out what gives an atom its mass and size.

The mass of an atom.

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The mass of an atom. (Credit: JJ. Smith)

It is the nucleus (i.e. the protons + neutrons) that make up the mass of an atom.

- Most (> 99%) of the mass of an atom is in the dense nucleus 
(i.e. protons + neutrons).
- A proton has a mass of about 1800 times greater than the mass of an electron.
- If you thought an atom was tiny, an electron is much, much smaller than an atom … it is minuscule.
- An electron is so so tiny, it hardly has any mass.
- Electrons make up less than 0.06% of the total mass of an atom.

The size of an atom.

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The size of an atom. (Credit JJ. Smith)

When it comes to the size of an atom, it is the...

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What is an atom and why are atoms important?

What is an atom? (Credit: J. Smith)

What is an atom? (Credit: J. Smith)

So what’s so great about atoms? What are they? Why should we get excited about them? Are they really that important?

Why do atoms matter?

You probably know that everything that exists in this world is made up of matter. The food you eat, the air we breathe, even your body is made up of matter. All the “stuff” around us is made up of matter.

Matter is anything that takes up space and has a mass.

But what makes up matter?

Atoms!

- Which means everything around us is made up of atoms.
- From the trees to the bees: Humans, water, air, trees, food – you name it – it’s all made up of atoms.
- All matter on earth is made up of atoms!
- As far as we know, atoms are made up of the smallest, tiniest things on earth.

So, knowing about atoms is important, it...

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