Analyzing Atomic Structure for Chemistry

By Peter J. Mikulecky, Chris Hren

Part of Chemistry Workbook For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Chemistry deals with atoms, which are composed of subatomic particles that differ in mass and charge. Altering the numbers of these particles can alter the element or the isotope identity of an atom. Here are some subatomic facts:

  • Subatomic particles:

    • Proton, p+: 1 atomic mass unit (amu), +1 charge

    • Electron, e: 1/1,836 amu, –1 charge

    • Neutron, n0: 1 amu, 0 charge

  • Atomic number:

    • Equals the number of protons

    • Determines the element

  • Mass number:

    • Equals the number of protons plus neutrons

    • Determines the isotope