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Atoms consist of three basic particles: protons, electrons, and neutrons.The nucleus (center) of the atom contains the protons (positively charged) and the neutrons (no charge).The hydrogen atom (H) contains only one proton, one electron, and no neutrons.This can be determined using the atomic number and the mass number of the element (see the concept on atomic numbers and mass numbers).Accounting for the sizes of protons, neutrons, and electrons, most of the volume of an atom—greater than 99 percent—is, in fact, empty space.Despite all this empty space, solid objects do not just pass through one another.
Atoms have different properties based on the arrangement and number of their basic particles.
Neutral atoms of an element contain an equal number of protons and electrons.
The number of protons determines an element’s atomic number (Z) and distinguishes one element from another.
Electrons are much smaller in mass than protons, weighing only 9.11 × 10 grams, or about 1/1800 of an atomic mass unit.
Therefore, they do not contribute much to an element’s overall atomic mass.
Isotopes of the same element will have the same atomic number but different mass numbers.