An atom is stable because of a balanced nucleus that does not contain excess energy. If the forces between the protons and the neutrons in the nucleus are unbalanced, then the atom is unstable. Stable atoms retain their form indefinitely, while unstable atoms undergo radioactive decay. Most naturally occurring atoms are stable and do not decay.Know More
The nucleus of an atom is made up of protons and neutrons. The forces inside the nucleus of a stable atom are balanced because the nucleus contains the proper number of protons and neutrons. These atoms are theoretically resistant to all forms of decay except proton decay, which is a hypothetical form of decay that has never been observed in a laboratory or in nature.
Unstable atoms are radioactive and decay after a certain amount of time. Different unstable atoms decay through different processes, such as the ejection of a proton or a neutron; the conversion of a proton to a neutron or a neutron to a proton; and the emission of the excess energy in the form of photons. In many cases, the resulting atom is still unstable. This atom then decays again to a new atom. The process continues in a decay chain until a stable form is reached.Learn more in Atoms & Molecules
The most stable state of an atom is called the ground state. In the ground state, all the electrons are in the lowest energy levels, so their energy cannot be lowered further by moving into other orbitals. This stable state will remain until energy is applied from the outside.Full Answer >
The smallest particle of an element is an atom. Each atom of an element has a certain number of protons, electrons and neutrons; once those numbers change, the atom makes a different element.Full Answer >
Neutrons are the particles in an atom that have a neutral charge. Protons and electrons are other particles found in an atom. Protons have a positive charge and neutrons have a negative one.Full Answer >
The number of protons that are found is an atom is referred to as the atomic number. This number is also referred to as the proton number.Full Answer >