Atom diagram labeled - Science Quiz - An atom is the smallest building block which makes up all matter. It defines the properties of each element and combines to form the compounds that make up life and the Earth itself.
You might already be familiar with the subatomic particles that compose an atom. Protons carry a positive electrical charge and the much smaller electrons possess a negative charge, while neutrons carry no charge at all.
Protons and neutrons join at the center, making up the nucleus of an atom. Electrons are found encircling the neutron at varying energy levels.
An atom itself is composed of mostly empty space. Atoms typically carry the same amount of protons and electrons, meaning that its positive and negative charges are equal and balanced. As a result, atoms have no overall charge. Ionization occurs when atoms gain or lose electrons, thenceforth containing either a positive or negative charge. In this state, they are called ions.
The valence shell is made of an atom’s outermost electrons. These electrons can be shared or exchanged with other atoms of different elements to create chemical bonds and form new substances.
We’ve assembled this atom diagram labeled with key details on the different parts of an atom as a visual aid to learning about basic chemistry and the interactions between particles occurring at the atomic level.