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# Topic

Atomic Structure

LEARNING OUTCOMES
By the end of this topic, you should be able to: 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Explain the history of atomic model; Describe subatomic particles; Differentiate between atomic number, nucleon number and mass number; Summarise the concepts of isotopes; Show how to configure the electronic configuration of atom; and Summarise the concept of valence electrons.

X INTRODUCTION
Hi there and welcome to the third topic of this module. Before we learn more about atomic structure, let us recall the definition of matter. Matter is defined as anything that has mass and takes up space or volume. Matter is made up of discrete atoms. We will continue to learn more about atoms in this topic. In this topic, we will learn about the history of atomic model, subatomic particles, atomic number, nucleon number and mass number. Then, we will study isotopes, and the electronic configuration of atoms. Lastly, we will learn about valence electrons. Let us start the lesson!

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3.1

## HISTORY OF ATOMIC MODEL

We begin this topic by tracking the atomic model history. According to the atomic theory, matter is made up of much smaller particles known as atoms. Do you know that the history of atoms started from John Daltons model? Later, James Chadwick provided a complete portrayal of the components in an atom. Let us look at Table 3.1, which shows the different atomic models and their explanations.
Table 3.1: Models of Atom Contributor John Dalton Model Billiard Ball Model (1805) Explanation Daltons atomic model was portrayed as a small indivisible ball similar to a very tiny ball.

Source: https://reichchemistry.wikispaces.com Joseph John Thomson Plum Pudding Model (1897) Thomson discovered the electron, a negativelycharged particle. The atom was described as a sphere of positive charge with electrons embedded in it.

Source: http://www.scienceclarified.com Ernest Rutherford Solar System Model/Rutherford Model (1911) Rutherford discovered the proton, a positivelycharged particle in an atom. The proton and most of the mass of the atom were concentrated in the central region called the nucleus. The electrons moved in the spherical space outside the nucleus.

Source: http://www.faqs.org

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Neils Bohr

## Bohr Model (1913)

According to Bohr, the electrons in an atom were not randomly distributed around the atomic nucleus, but moved around the nucleus in fixed orbits (shell). Each orbit formed a circle and had a fixed distance from the nucleus.

## Source: http://www.hsctut.materials.unsw.edu.au Source: http://www.csmate.colostate.edu

3.2

SUBATOMIC PARTICLES

In the study of atomic structure, we will look first at the subatomic particles, also known as fundamental particles. These are the basic building blocks of all atoms. Atoms consist principally of three subatomic particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. Both the protons and neutrons reside in the nucleus and they are called nucleon. As seen in Figure 3.1, the electrons reside in orbits around the nucleus.

## Figure 3.1: Electrons orbiting around the nucleus Source: http://www.cfo.doe.gov

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Let us examine these particles in detail. The relative mass and charge of the three subatomic particles are shown in Table 3.2.
Table 3.2: Symbols, Relative Electric Charge and Relative Masses of Subatomic Particles Element Proton Neutron Electron Symbol p n e Relative Electric Charge +1 0 1 Relative Mass 1 Approximately 0.0005 1

The mass of an electron is very small compared with the mass of either a proton or a neutron. The charge on a proton is equal in magnitude, but opposite in sign to the charge on an electron. Since the masses of protons and neutrons are greater than those of electrons, the mass of an atom is mostly concentrated in the nucleus. An atom consists of an equal number of electrons and protons. Hence, an atom is electrically neutral.

ACTIVITY 3.1
Can you find out more on the Internet about the similarities and differences between the charge of a proton and an electron? Compare and then make a summary on the differences between the charge of a proton and an electron.

3.3

## ATOMIC NUMBER, NUCLEON NUMBER AND MASS NUMBER

Now, let us move on to atomic number, nucleon number and mass number. Firstly, what does atomic number mean?
The atomic number refers to the number of protons in an atom which is represented by the symbol Z.

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Do you know that the atomic number of an element is the identity of the element? This is because the number of proton in the nucleus of every atom in an element is always the same. For example, each hydrogen atom contains only one proton and its atomic number is 1. On the other hand, the carbon atom has six protons and its atomic number is 6, whereas the atomic number of oxygen is 8 because it contains eight protons in its nucleus. What about a neutral atom? For a neutral atom, the number of its electrons is equal to the number of its proton or the atomic number. In other words, the proton number of an atom can also represent the number of electrons. How about the nucleon number? What does it mean?
The nucleon number of an element is the total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.

Do you know that nucleon number is sometimes referred to as the mass number? This is because since the mass of an atom is very small, the nucleon number of an atom is almost the same as the mass of the atom. The mass number is represented by the symbol A as shown below. Nucleon number (A) = Number of protons (Z) + Number of neutrons

How do we use the atomic number and nucleon number? Figure 3.2 shows the standard representation for an atom of any element by using atomic number (proton number) and nucleon number.

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## Figure 3.2: Nucleon and proton numbers of an element

Let us see an example of a standard representation for an atom as shown in Figure 3.3. It shows you the nucleon and proton numbers contained in the helium atom.

## Figure 3.3: Nucleon and proton numbers of a Helium atom

ACTIVITY 3.2
Calculate the number of protons, electrons and neutrons and fill in the table below.
Atom Helium Oxygen Sodium Chlorine Nucleon Number 4 16 23 35 Proton Number 2 8 11 17 No. of Proton 2 No. of Electron 2 No. of Neutron 2

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3.4

ISOTOPES

Let us learn about isotopes now. Firstly, do you know that there are atoms which have the same number of protons but different number of neutrons? We call these atoms as isotopes. Based on the previous statement, can you define isotopes?
Wecandefineisotopesas atoms ofthe sameelementwith the samenumberofprotonsbutwith differentnumberof neutrons.

For example, there are three distinct kinds of hydrogen atoms, commonly called hydrogen, deuterium and tritium, as shown in Figure 3.4. Each contains one proton in the atomic nucleus.

## Figure 3.4: The three isotopes of hydrogen Source: http://www.pppl.gov

Other examples of isotopes are the Carbon-12 and Carbon-14 isotopes. Both have the same number of protons, which is 6, but different number of neutrons. Carbon-12 has six neutrons, whereas Carbon-14 has eight neutrons. Do you know that there are similarities and differences between isotopes of the same element? These similarities and differences between isotopes of the same element are summarised in Table 3.3.

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Table 3.3: Similarities and Differences between Isotopes of the Same Element Isotopes of the Same Element Similarities Differences

(i) (ii)

Same proton number Same number of electrons in an atom (iii) Same electron arrangement

(i) (ii)

## Different nucleon numbers Different neutron numbers in an atom

How about isotopes for other elements? You can refer to Table 3.4, which shows isotopes for hydrogen, oxygen, chlorine, carbon and sodium.
Table 3.4: Isotopes of Some Elements Element Isotopes of Element Hydrogen Hydrogen Deuterium Tritium Oxygen16 Oxygen Oxygen17 Oxygen18 Chlorine35 Chlorine Chlorine37 Carbon12 Carbon Carbon13 Carbon14 Sodium23 Sodium Sodium24 Symbol
3 3 4 3 5 3

Nucleon Number 1 12 13 16 17 18 35 37 12 13 14 23 24

Proton Number 1 1 1 8 8 8 17 17 6 6 6 11 11

Neutron Number 0 1 2 8 9 10 18 20 6 7 8 12 13

J J J

38 : 39 : 3: : 57 39 59 39

Q Q Q

En En E

34 8 35 8 36 8 45 33 46 33

E E

Pc Pc

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Do you know that isotopes can be used in various fields? Let us look at Table 3.5, which describes the specific isotopes and their usages.
Table 3.5: Specific Isotopes and their Usages Isotope Iodine-31 Krypton-85 Uranium-235 Carbon-14 Phosporous-32 Field Medical Industry Power Resources Agriculture General Research Usage The treatment of thyroid disease. To control the thickness of plastic sheets in the plastic industry. Nuclear power stations. To carry out experiments or studies regarding photosynthesis and protein synthesis. Used in fertilisers to study the metabolism of phosphorus in plants.

ACTIVITY 3.3
Find at least THREE different isotopes for each of these areas: medicine, power resources, agriculture, and general research. You can research using the Internet, books or encyclopaedias to get the answers. Good luck!

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3.5

## ELECTRONIC CONFIGURATION OF ATOMS

As mentioned earlier, atoms are made up of protons, neutrons and electrons. Where are they located? The protons and neutrons are located in the nucleus of an atom. How about electrons? The electrons are not randomly located but are actually arranged in shells or energy levels around the nucleus of an atom. The shells of an atom are numbered 1, 2, 3 and so on, starting from the one closest to the nucleus. Each shell can occupy a certain number of electrons. For atoms with the proton numbers of 1 to 20, the first shell can hold a maximum of two electrons. As for the second shell, it can hold a maximum of eight electrons. This is followed by the third shell, where it can also hold a maximum of eight electrons. Now, let us look at Figure 3.5, which shows the potassium atom.

## Figure 3.5: Electron configuration of the potassium atom

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How do we find out the proton number of the atom? For a neutral atom, the number of electrons is the same as the number of protons. Referring to the periodic table, the potassium atom has 19 electrons. Let us arrange the electrons in shells by following this rule: electrons occupy the shells closest to the nucleus first, and they occupy a new shell when a previous one has been occupied. Therefore, the first shell of the potassium atom has a maximum of two electrons; the second and the third shells each have a maximum of eight electrons. The outer shell has one electron. These are summarised as follows: Number of electrons in the first shell: 2 Number of electrons in the second shell: 8 Number of electrons in the third shell: 8 Number of electrons in the last shell: 1 The electron configuration of potassium = 2.8.8.1 You can refer to Figure 3.6 for a traditional representation of an atoms electronic configuration. It is a dot and cross diagram. Figure 3.6 shows a nitrogen atom which has seven electrons two electrons in the first shell and five electrons in the second shell. Therefore, the electron configuration of the nitrogen atom is 2.5.

## Figure 3.6: Dot and cross diagram of nitrogen atom

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SELF-CHECK 3.1
1.
62 57 8 Given that 42 Ec 39 En 5 Nk ,

(a) (b) 2.

Write the electron configuration for the following elements. Draw a dot and cross diagram for each of the elements.

## Complete the table below.

Proton Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Electron Number 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 Number of Electron in Shell: 1st 2nd 3rd 4th Electron Arrangement

Element Hydrogen Helium Lithium Beryllium Boron Carbon Nitrogen Oxygen Fluorine Neon Sodium Magnesium Aluminium Silicon Phosphorus Sulphur Chlorine Argon Potassium Calcium

F-CHECK 2.1

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3.6

VALENCE ELECTRONS

As we have learnt earlier, if the number of electrons is less than 20, the first shell can hold a maximum of two electrons, the second shell eight electrons and the third shell eight electrons. What if the number of electrons is more than 20? Then, the third shell can hold a maximum of up to 18 electrons. However, for the purpose of this module, the focus will be on elements with less than 20 electrons only. So, let us continue our lesson on valence electrons. Firstly, what are valence electrons?
Valence electrons are the electrons found in the outermost shell of an atom. It is the furthest shell from the nucleus.

Do you know that from the electron arrangement, we can determine the number of valence electrons in an atom? Let us look at an example. A chlorine atom has an electron arrangement of 2.8.7. There are seven electrons in the outermost occupied shell of the chlorine atom. Thus, the number of valence electrons in a chlorine atom is 7. Before we end this subtopic as well as this topic, let us summarise the relationship between the number of valence electrons and group/period number. The summary is shown in Table 3.6.
Table 3.6: Number of Valence Electrons and Group Number Number of Valence Electrons Group 8 1 1 2 2 3 13 4 14 5 15 6 16 7 17 (Except Helium) 18

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Based on Table 3.6, we can deduce that for elements with one or two valence electrons, the group number of these elements is equal to the number of valence electrons contained inside the elements. As for elements with three to eight valence electrons, the group number of these elements is equal to the number of valence electrons plus the number 10. An exception to the rule is Helium as it is placed in Group 18, despite having an electron arrangement of two. How about the number of shells and period number? You can refer to Table 3.7 which shows the number of shells and period number based on each group.
Table 3.7: Number of Shells and Period Number Number of Shells Occupied with Electrons Group 1 1 2 2 3 3 4 4 5 5 6 6 7 7

Based on Table 3.7, we can see that the period number of an element is equal to the number of shells occupied with electrons in an atom of the particular element. This is quite similar to Table 3.6, right? As a conclusion, we can say that for elements with one or two valence electrons, the group number of these elements is equal to the number of valence electrons contained inside the elements, and as for the period number of an element, it is equal to the number of shells occupied with electrons in an atom of the particular element.

x x

The atomic theory states that all matter is made up of atoms. The history of atoms started when an atom was portrayed as a tiny ball. Later, the electron, a negatively-charged particle, was discovered. This was followed by the discovery of protons and nucleus. Atoms consist of three subatomic particles: electrons, protons and neutrons. The atomic number of an element is the number of its protons in the nucleus. It is represented by the symbol Z.

x x

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The mass number of an element is the total number of neutrons and protons in the nucleus of the atom. It is also called the nucleon number and is represented by the symbol A. Isotopes are atoms of the same element with the same number of protons but with a different number of neutrons. Isotopes are mostly used in various fields such as medicine, industry, agriculture, power resources and general research. The electrons are not randomly located but are arranged in shells or energy levels around the nucleus of an atom. The first shell can hold a maximum of two electrons. The first shell will be filled first. The second shell can hold a maximum of eight electrons. The third shell can hold a maximum of eight electrons. A valence electron is the electron of the outermost shell. The number of valence electrons in an atom can be determined from its electron arrangement.

x x x x x x

## Atomic number Electron shells Electron configuration Isotopes Mass number

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