An electron is a negatively charged subatomic particle that orbits around the nucleus of an atom. The negative charge of the electrons is balanced by the positive charge of the protons in the nucleus. Electrons have a much lower mass than protons.
The activity of valence electrons helps determine the characteristics of an element. Valence electrons are the electrons orbiting in the outermost energy level of the atom. Elements that have the maximum of eight electrons in their outermost energy levels are the most stable; these elements belong to the family of noble gases. Elements that don't have this full complement of electrons in their outermost energy levels are not as stable and want to form compounds with other elements to attain this stable configuration. The most reactive elements are those that have one or seven electrons in their valence shells; those with one valence electron readily shed their single electrons, whereas elements with seven electrons need to gain a single electron to achieve stability.Learn More
The electron cloud of an atom is the area outside an atom's nucleus in which electrons exist. The Bohr model of the atom, popular in the early 20th century, was disproven by quantum physics theories put forth by Werner Heisenberg.Full Answer >
The electron cloud is a way of visualizing the results of mathematical equations used to calculate the position of an electron as it orbits the nucleus of the atom. The area where the cloud is densest describes the most likely location of the electron at a particular point in time.Full Answer >
An atom becomes a positive ion when it loses an electron, which is a negatively charged subatomic particle. Only metal atoms can become positive ions.Full Answer >
The atomic number of sodium is 11, so it has a total of 11 electrons arranged in orbits around its nucleus. The electron configuration of sodium is [Ne] 3S1 or 2, 8, 1 with the last electron being the valence electron.Full Answer >