GCSE Chemistry: Atom for Structure

5th April 2017

GCSE Chemistry - get the facts!

All you need to know about the development of the Atom for your GCSE Science


Your upcoming GCSE Science examinations this summer based on the new GCSE syllabus will undoubtedly involve some work on the atom. Understanding the atom, and where the model of the atom has come form, will help you on your way to achieving great success.


So let’s take a look at some of the key things you need to know!


  • The first atom model was named - the plum pudding model. In this model, the atom is a ball of positive charges with negative electrons embedded in it.

  • The next model was named - the nuclear model. In this model, the mass of an atom is concentrated at the centre and the nucleus is charged.

  • The nuclear model was adapted by Niels Bohr. His adapted model said that electrons orbit the nucleus at specific distances.

  • Later experiments showed that the positive charge of a nucleus could be divided into many smaller particles with an equal amount of positive charge. These were named protons!

  • Neutrons were later discovered through work carried out by James Chadwick


You need to know the following about charges in atoms:


  • Protons - relative charge of +1

  • Neutrons - relative charge of 0

  • Electrons - relative charge of -1


In an atom:

  • The number of electrons is the same as the number of protons in the nucleus

  • Atoms have no electrical charge

  • Number of protons = atomic number

  • Atoms of the same element of an equal number of protons

  • Atoms are tiny

  • If you add the number of protons and neutrons in an atom you will get its mass number

These are just some of the things you need to know to get to grips with atoms. To continue revising the atom, listen to our song which you can find here. For lots of other revision tips for Chemistry subjects, take a look at what’s available!


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