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Number of Protons

Atom

"The Atom"

Number of Protons - What are Protons?

Protons are much larger and heavier than electrons and have a positive charge. Protons are positively charged and located in the nucleus together with the neutrons. Protons have a charge of +1 and a mass of approximately 1 atomic mass unit (amu).

Number of Protons - How to find the Atomic Number of an element
Every element has a unique Element Symbol and a unique Atomic Number which can be accessed via the Periodic Table with Atomic Mass.

The atomic number = The number of protons in the atom of an element.

Number of Protons - How to find the Number of Protons - Examples
The atomic number is based on the number of protons in the atom of an element. (Note: Atoms must also have equal numbers of protons & electrons.) So, if we know the atomic numberof an element then we also know how many protons in an element.

  • Example 1 - Number of Protons in Gold: The element Gold (Symbol Au) has the Atomic Number of 79. Any atom that contains exactly 79 protons in its nucleus is an atom of gold. The number of protons in atom of gold is therefore 79.

  • Example 2 - Number of Protons in Silver: The element Silver (Symbol Ag) has the Atomic Number of 47. Any atom that contains exactly 47 protons in its nucleus is an atom of silver. The number of protons in atom of silver is therefore 47.

  • Example 3 - Number of Protons in Neon: The element Neon (Symbol Ne) has the Atomic Number of 10. Any atom that contains exactly 10 protons in its nucleus is an atom of gold. The number of protons in atom of gold is therefore 10.

Number of Protons - Adding or Removing Protons
Adding or removing protons from the nucleus of an atom creates a different element. For example, removing one proton from an atom of Gold creates an atom of Platinum (Platinum has the Atomic number 78 therefore the number of protons = 78.) Adding one proton from an atom of Gold creates an atom of Mercury (Mercury has the Atomic number 80 therefore the number of protons = 80.).

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