In chemistry, to understand the chemical behaviour, reactivity, physical nature, and symmetry of an element, we study its subatomic particles, their numbers, their strength, and the overall dominant charge. If you don't know then subatomic particles are the fundamental constituents of an atom.
Most basic subatomic particles over which 98% chemical and physical behaviour of an atom depends are protons, neutrons, and electrons. The number of protons present in an atom is known as its atomic number whereas the total number of protons and neutrons an atom contains is called its atomic mass.
Chemists arrange all the elements, discovered up till now, into a periodic table based on their atomic numbers so if you know the atomic number of an element, you can predict a lot about its chemical nature by predicting its position in the table.
For example, sodium (Na) is present in group 1 and belongs to the series of alkali metals. Physically, it's very delicate that you can even cut it with a knife while chemically, it reacts vigorously with water. Why does this metal possess such a contrary nature? To know this, we need to find out the number of protons in sodium and number of neutrons in sodium present in atom's nucleus.
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How Many Protons Does Sodium Have?
To find the number of protons or the atomic number of an element, the easiest way is to use the periodic table. As stated before, the table contains all the known elements and even those which are yet to be discovered. Since each element in the periodic table is assigned an atomic number, that number will be equal to the number of protons it has.
If you look at the periodic table, then you'll find sodium at number 11. It shows that there are 11 number of protons in sodium nucleus. Always keep this general rule of thumb in mind that the number of protons of an element is always equal to the number of electrons revolving in its orbitals.
Thus, if there are 11 number of protons in sodium nucleus, it must have eleven electrons. If we have to summarize the entire paragraph in a single line, we can write it as follows
Number of protons = number of electrons = 11
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How Many Neutrons Does Sodium Have?
To find out the number of neutrons present inside sodium atom's nucleus, we get help from the atomic mass (sum of protons and neutrons). The atomic mass of every element is also written right beside its atomic number, in the same cell having that element's chemical symbol, in the periodic table.
If you see the periodic table, the atomic mass of sodium it shows will be 22.990 which we round off to 23. To calculate the number of neutrons in sodium from atomic mass, we use the given formula
Number of neutrons = atomic mass - number of protons
As we know, a sodium atom contains eleven protons, we put both the values into the formula to get the answer as follows
Number of neutrons = 23 - 11
Number of neutrons = 12
Thus, a sodium atom contains eleven protons, eleven electrons, and twelve neutrons that it sodium use to react. Besides using this equation and getting help from the periodic table, you can also use online calculators.
To find the number of subatomic particles using protons neutrons and electrons calculator, all you need to do is to write the chemical symbol or name of that element in the corresponding box. Resultantly, the calculator will present all the information about that element in front of you, just in a fraction of seconds.
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