An atom is stable because of a balanced nucleus that does not contain excess energy. If the forces between the protons and the neutrons in the nucleus are unbalanced, then the atom is unstable. Stable atoms retain their form indefinitely, while unstable atoms undergo radioactive decay. Most naturally occurring atoms are stable and do not decay.Continue Reading
The nucleus of an atom is made up of protons and neutrons. The forces inside the nucleus of a stable atom are balanced because the nucleus contains the proper number of protons and neutrons. These atoms are theoretically resistant to all forms of decay except proton decay, which is a hypothetical form of decay that has never been observed in a laboratory or in nature.
Unstable atoms are radioactive and decay after a certain amount of time. Different unstable atoms decay through different processes, such as the ejection of a proton or a neutron; the conversion of a proton to a neutron or a neutron to a proton; and the emission of the excess energy in the form of photons. In many cases, the resulting atom is still unstable. This atom then decays again to a new atom. The process continues in a decay chain until a stable form is reached.Learn more about Atoms & Molecules
The net electric charge of the nucleus of an atom is positive due to the presence of charge-carrying particles known as protons. The outer shell of the atom is negatively charged as a result of carrying electrons in a diffuse cloud. Atoms always have a net neutral electric charge.Full Answer >
One atom of helium has two protons in its nucleus. A neutral atom of helium also has two electrons.Full Answer >
The atomic number of an atom represents the number of protons found in the nucleus of that atom. Elements are identified by their atomic numbers because each element has a different number of protons in its nucleus.Full Answer >
The nucleus of an atom is the region found in the center of the atom. It consists of the protons and neutrons. The nucleus makes up the majority of an atom's mass; the other part making up the atom's mass is the outer electron clouds surrounding the nucleus.Full Answer >