Atomic nucleus meaning
What is the atomic nucleus:
The atomic nucleus is the center of the atom, it is composed of protons and neutrons, and it has almost the entire mass of the atom.
The existence of the atomic nucleus was discovered by the physicist Ernest Rutherford (1871-1937), who created Rutherford's atomic model, for which he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1908.
The atomic nucleus is positively charged and is made up of nucleons. Nucleons are divided into protons and nucleons. Protons have a positive electrical charge while neutrons have a neutral charge.
The importance of the atomic nucleus is that it constitutes the greater part of an atom and its protons indicate the type of chemical element that is observed.
Characteristics of the atomic nucleus
Rutherford's atomic model shows that all the positive charge and the mass of the atom meet in the atomic nucleus. The atomic nucleus is characterized by having almost the total mass of an atom (more than 99%).
The atomic nucleus, in addition, is characterized by having nucleons that are divided into protons and neutrons. Protons have a positive charge and neutrons have a neutral charge, therefore, the electrical charge of the atomic nucleus is positive.
See also Atom.
Properties of the atomic nucleus
The atomic nucleus has orbits in which electrons with a negative electrical charge rotate, counteracting the positive charge of the protons in the nucleus. In this way, the atoms have a total neutral electric charge.
The atomic nucleus is made up of protons, the quantity of which defines the atomic number of the chemical element. In chemistry, for example, the atomic number will determine the number of protons in the atoms that will in turn define the observed chemical element.
See also Chemical element.
In addition, the atomic nucleus is attached to the atomic crust, the larger layer that surrounds the nucleus, by electromagnetic interaction.
The behavior and properties of an atomic nucleus are studied by nuclear physics. This science also studies the ability to obtain energy through nuclear fission, that is, combining two light nuclei into a heavier one. The creation of energy from nuclear fission resides in the instability of the atomic nucleus, which does not have the same number of protons as neutrons.