What Are Atoms Made Of?

An atom is made up of three particles called protons, neutrons and electrons. An atom is the most basic form of matter and can not be broken down any further.

Protons and neutrons come together in the center of the atom to form the nucleus. Electrons orbit the nucleus. These electrons are bound to the nucleus by an electromagnetic force. Protons have a positive charge, while electrons carry a negative charge. Neutrons do not have a charge. Protons and neutrons can be further divided into particles called quarks. Electrons can not be further broken down because they are fundamental particles. Atoms are the basic building blocks of matter. Atoms can join together to form molecules which make up most of life. All elements found on the periodic table are made up of atoms. Every atom has its own name, mass and size. Atoms can be present in various states of matter, such as a gas, liquid or solid. Atoms tend to move very fast in the gas form because the molecules are not very compact. In solid forms, atoms can not move at all because the molecules are packed tightly together. Liquids allow some room for movement but not as much as gases.