reading this section you will be able to do
the differences between electrons and protons.
what happens when protons and electrons interact with other
protons or electrons.
are the smallest and lightest of the particles in an atom. Electrons
are in constant motion as they circle around the nucleus of that
atom. Electrons are said to have a negative charge, which means
that they seem to be surrounded by a kind of invisible force field.
This is called an electrostatic field.
are much larger and heavier than electrons. Protons have a positive
electrical charge. This positively charged electrostatic field
is exactly the same strength as the electrostatic field in an
electron, but it is opposite in polarity. Notice the negative
electron (pictured at the top left) and the positive proton (pictured
at the right) have the same number of force field lines in each
of the diagrams. In other words, the proton is exactly as positive
as the electron is negative.
charges repel, unlike charges attract
Two electrons will tend to repel each
other because both have a negative electrical charge. Two protons
will also tend to repel each other because they both have a positive
charge. On the other hand, electrons and protons will be attracted
to each other because of their unlike charges.
Since the electron is much smaller
and lighter than a proton, when they are attracted to each other
due to their unlike charges, the electron usually does most of
the moving. This is because the protons have more mass and are
harder to get moving. Although electrons are very small, their
negative electrical charges are still quite strong. Remember,
the negative charge of an electron is the same as the positive
electrical charge of the much larger in size proton. This way
the atom stays electrically balanced.
Another important fact about the electrical
charges of protons and electrons is that the farther away they
are from each other, the less force their electric fields have
on each other. Similarly, the closer they are to each other, the
more force they will experience from each other due to this invisible
force field called an electric field.
have a negative electrostatic charge and protons have
a positive electrostatic charge.
way to remember what charge protons have is to remember both
proton and positive charge start with "P."
repel, unlike charges attract, just like with magnets.