Why are electrons important?


Quick Answer

Electrons are important because they bond atoms together into molecules and are required for electricity. Electrons are subatomic particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom. The electrons are much smaller than the nucleus of the atom and can be compared to the size difference of the Earth and the sun.

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Full Answer

Electrons have a negative charge, protons have a positive charge and neutrons are neutral. All three make up atoms. Electrons are so fast that even with a microscope that can see at an atomic level, their speed would be too fast for the human eye to see. The exact location of electrons on an atom has not been observed and only can be estimated. To bond atoms together to produce molecules, electrons are required in both covalent and ionic bonding. Covalent bonding is where atoms share the electrons while ionic bonds are those where one atom give another atom its electrons.

Electrons are required for electricity, which is little more than an exchange of electrons in a current through conducting materials. The electron is passed from one atom to another in a single direction, and when an atom loses an electron it is positively charged and it looks to take another electron from somewhere else. This conducting material, or medium, can be acid or metal. However in the case of static electricity, the electrons travel through the air.

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