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Author: Nathan Lampson

Atoms are the basic particles of all elements. Examining atoms provides an in-depth look at the natural charge of elements, based on the number of neutrons and protons within the nucleus and the electrons surrounding it. Discover how to construct a formula with atomic mass and atomic number to calculate the number of neutrons within any given nucleus. Challenge yourself with ions and learning to contrast them with atoms and propel your science skills to a new level.   

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Developing Effective Teams

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*No strings attached. This college course is 100% free and is worth 1 semester credit.

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* The American Council on Education's College Credit Recommendation Service (ACE Credit®) has evaluated and recommended college credit for 33 of Sophia’s online courses. Many different colleges and universities consider ACE CREDIT recommendations in determining the applicability to their course and degree programs.



Atoms are basic particles from which all elements are made. Different types of atoms have different properties and are called elements.

Atoms are made up of even smaller particles.  Protons are a positively charged particle found in the center of an atom. Negatively charged particles that form a cloud around the center of an atom are called electrons.  Neutrons are particles found in the center of an atom that have no charge.

When atoms have an electric charge, they are known as ions.  Ions that lose an electron (-) become a positive ion.  Atoms that lose a proton (+) become a negative ion.  A reason ions are known as electrolytes is because they allow substances to conduct electricity.