# How To Write A Chemical Formula From A Structural Formula Calculation Of Empty Space In An Atom (Considering The Simplest Hydrogen Atom)

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## Calculation Of Empty Space In An Atom (Considering The Simplest Hydrogen Atom)

Atoms are the basic units of matter and the defining structure of elements. Atoms are made up of three particles: protons, neutrons and electrons.

Protons and neutrons are heavier than electrons and reside in the center of an atom, called the nucleus. Electrons are extremely light and exist in a cloud orbiting the nucleus. The radius of the electron cloud is 10,000 times that of the nucleus.

Protons and neutrons have approximately the same mass. However, one proton weighs more than 1800 electrons. Atoms always have an equal number of protons and electrons, and the number of protons and neutrons is usually the same. Adding a proton to an atom creates a new element, while adding a neutron creates an isotope or heavier version of that atom.

Core

The nucleus was discovered in 1911, but its parts were not identified until 1932. Almost all the mass of an atom is in the nucleus. The core is held together by a “strong force,” one of the four fundamental forces of nature. This force between protons and neutrons overcomes the repulsive electric force that would otherwise push the protons apart according to the laws of electricity.

Protons

Protons are positively charged particles found in atomic nuclei. They were discovered by Ernest Rutherford in experiments conducted between 1911 and 1919.

The number of protons in an atom determines what element it is. For example, carbon atoms have six protons, hydrogen atoms have one, and oxygen atoms have eight. The number of protons in an atom is called the atomic number of that element. The number of protons in an atom also determines the chemical behavior of the element. In the periodic table of elements, the elements are arranged in order of increasing atomic number.

Protons are made up of other particles called quarks. Each proton has three quarks—two “up” quarks and one “down” quark—and they are held together by other particles called gluons.

Electrons

Electrons have a negative charge and are electrically attracted to positively charged protons. Electrons surround the atomic nucleus in paths called orbitals. The inner orbitals surrounding an atom are spherical, but the outer orbitals are much more complex.

The electron configuration of an atom is an orbital description of the location of electrons in an unexcited atom. Using principles of electron configuration and physics, chemists can predict atomic properties such as stability, boiling point, and conductivity.

Usually only the outermost electron shells are important in chemistry. The notation for the inner electron shell is often truncated by replacing the long orbital description with a noble gas symbol in parentheses. This notation method greatly simplifies the description of large molecules.

For example, the electron configuration of beryllium (Be) is 1s22s2, but it is written [He]2s2. [He] is equivalent to all electron orbitals of a helium atom. The letters, s, p, d, and f indicate the shape of the orbitals, and the superscript indicates the number of electrons in that orbital.

Neutrons

Neutrons are uncharged particles found in atomic nuclei. The mass of a neutron is slightly greater than that of a proton. Like protons, neutrons are made up of quarks – one “up” quark and two “down” quarks. Neutrons were discovered by James Chadwick in 1932.

Very nearly everything. Let’s look at the hydrogen atom to see how empty it really is.

A hydrogen atom is made of one proton with one electron orbiting it. How big is a hydrogen atom? The radius of a hydrogen atom is known as the Bohr radius, which is 0.529 × 10-10 meters. This means that the volume of a hydrogen atom is about 6.2 × 10-31 cubic meters.

How big is the proton at the center of a hydrogen atom? Recent studies show that the radius of protons is about .84 × 10-15 meters, which gives them a volume of about 2.5 × 10-45 cubic meters.

We need to do a little more math to find out how much of a hydrogen atom is empty space:.

Percentage filled = 100 × (volume filled / total volume)

Percentage of full value = 100 × (2.5 × 10**-45 m3 / 6.2 × 10**-31 m3)

Full Percent = 100 × (4 × 10**-15)

Percent complete = 4 × 10** – 13 %

Percent Complete = 0.0000000000004%

If 0.0000000000004% of the hydrogen atom is full, then the rest must be empty:

Percent empty = 100% – full

Percent Empty = 100% – 0.0000000000004%

Percent Empty = 99.99999999999996%

A hydrogen atom is about 99.9999999999996% empty space. In other words, if a hydrogen atom were the size of the Earth, the proton at its center would be about 200 meters (600 feet) in diameter. While I wouldn’t want something that big to land on my head, it’s tiny compared to the size of the globe.

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