Q:

What is the atomic theory?

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Quick Answer

The atomic theory is that all matter is made up of tiny units or particles called atoms. This theory describes the characteristics, structure and behavior of atoms as well as the components that make up atoms. Furthermore, the theory states that all elements are made up of identical atoms.

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What is the atomic theory?
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The atomic theory is a theory in the study of chemistry that states atoms are the building blocks of matter. Atoms contain protons, neutrons and electrons. Protons, which have a positive charge, and neutrons are found in the nucleus of the atom. Electrons, which have a negative charge, orbit the nucleus.

According to the atomic theory, all elements contain atoms. The difference is the number of protons, electrons and neutrons in that atom. For instance, hydrogen contains one proton and one electron but no neutrons. Oxygen, on the other hand contains eight protons, electrons and neutrons. The difference in protons, electrons and neutrons determines the stability and the other properties of any particular element. These elements are grouped according to their atomic masses, which depend on the number of protons and neutrons in each of the atoms. Because oxygen has more protons and neutrons than hydrogen, it has a higher atomic mass.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What did Henri Becquerel contribute to atomic theory?

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    In 1896, French scientist Antoine Henri Becquerel discovered radioactivity which was an early contribution to atomic theory. He discovered this phenomenon while experimenting with uranium and a photographic plate.

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  • Q:

    What is the relationship between electronegativity and polarity?

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    Electronegativity in atoms causally relates to polarity in molecules, as different electronegativities in different components of an asymmetrical molecule cause that molecule to be polar. However, electronegativity differences that are too great lead not to polar molecules, but to ionic bonds. Electronegativity differences also do not lead to polar molecules when they are fully symmetrical because the charges are balanced.

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  • Q:

    Who developed the indivisible solid sphere model?

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    In 1803, John Dalton developed a hypothesis that atoms are a type of solid sphere. He has four primary statements in his theory, including that atoms are responsible for making up all matter, that atoms join to form compounds, that within the same mass, all atoms are identical and that atoms are indivisible.

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  • Q:

    Why do elements give off color when heated?

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    When heated or exposed to electricity, the electrons in atoms of a given element gain energy and move to a higher energy level or orbit; they do not maintain this position but re-emit the energy as light of a specific wavelength, generating color. For elements in a solid or liquid state, this light generally appears as a rainbow while elements in a gaseous state reveal their atomic emission spectra, the specific bands of color produced by that elements particular electron configuration.

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