Q:

# How many protons, neutrons and electrons does potassium have?

A:

Potassium has 19 protons, 20 neutrons and 19 electrons. The charges of the protons and electrons cancel each other out, so a neutral atom of potassium has a net charge of zero.

## Keep Learning

An element's atomic number is the same as the number of protons in the element. Because potassium has an atomic number of 19, it has 19 protons.

A neutral atom has the same number of protons and electrons, so one neutral atom of potassium must also have 19 electrons.

The number of neutrons in an element is equal to the element's mass number minus the number of protons in one atom of the element, according to the Thomas Jefferson National Accelerator Facility Office of Science Education. To find the mass number, round the atomic weight of the element that's found below the element's symbol on the periodic table to the nearest whole number. Potassium has an atomic weight of 39.0983, so its mass number is 39. There are 19 protons, so there must be 20 neutrons, which is the mass number of 39 minus 19 protons.

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## Related Questions

• A:

The element boron has five protons, five electrons and six neutrons. Boron also has an atomic number of five, which indicates how many protons and electrons the atom has. It has a rounded atomic mass of 11 and an atomic symbol of B.

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• A:

All isotopes of the same element share a common number of protons and electrons, though they vary in their relative numbers of neutrons. All isotopes of a given element are chemically identical, and they form bonds with other elements in the same way regardless of their neutron count or intrinsic stability.

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The discoveries of electrons, protons and neutrons were made by J. J. Thomson, Ernest Rutherford and James Chadwick respectively. They were staggered over a period of 35 years.