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Atomic Vocabulary

Atomic structure vocabulary

atom building block of matter; can be broken down into subatomic particles
element made of only one kind of atom; cannot be broken down any further; found on Periodic Table
nucleus center of an atom; contains protons, neutrons, electrons; contains most of the mass of an atom
proton positively charged subatomic particle; found in nucleus; number of protons is called the atomic number; atomic number determines identity of the atom
neutron subatomic particle with no charge; found in the nucleus of the atom; contributes of overall atomic mass, but not to atomic charge
electron subatomic particle found in the electron cloud; have virtually no mass; have a negative charge; contribute to overall atomic charge, but not mass
atomic number number of protons found in the nucleus of the atom; tells us the name of the element; whole number above atomic symbol on Periodic Table
atomic mass (mass number) number of protons plus number of neutrons; almost all mass located in the nucleus of the atom; decimal number close to atomic symbol on Periodic Table; round to the nearest whole number for mass we use in class
energy shell (level) completely surround nucleus of atom; electrons located here; specific rules apply; 2-8-8
valence shell (level) outermost energy level (shell)
valence electrons electrons located in the valence shell; these electrons determine an atoms level of reactivity; must be placed according to 2-8-8 rule
subatomic smaller than an atom
electron cloud all of the energy shells together; electrons found here; organized according to 2-8-8 rule
AMU atomic mass unit; unit used for expressing atomic mass; each proton has an amu of 1 and each electron has an amu of one