What Are the Two Major Components of an Atom?

The nucleus and the electron cloud have been modeled in a variety of ways.
••• Hemera Technologies/PhotoObjects.net/Getty Images

Atoms are the building blocks of matter and are responsible for everything we observe in the visible universe. The two main components of an atom are the nucleus and the cloud of electrons. The nucleus contains positively charged and neutral subatomic particles, whereas the cloud of electrons contains tiny negatively charged particles.


The nucleus is found at the center of the atom and contains subatomic particles that are called protons and neutrons. Protons carry a positive charge, whereas neutrons carry no charge. The protons and neutrons are held together in the nucleus by the nuclear strong force, which overcomes the repulsion between positively charged protons.

Cloud of electrons

An atomic nucleus is surrounded by a cloud of electrons. Electrons carry a negative charge that is equal and opposite to the charge carried by a proton. To form a neutral atom, the number of electrons has to equal the number of protons in the nucleus.

Related Articles

You've Gotta Try This Fun, Easy Way to Grow Crystals...
How to Calculate an Equivalent Fraction
Why is Quinine Fluorescent?
Test Your Knowledge on Middle School Science
What Part of the Plant Makes Seeds?
How to Convert Pounds Per Square Foot to PSI
How to Find Out If an Element Is an Ion
How to Find the X Intercept of a Function
How to Calculate Volume of a Circular Cylinder
Definition of Molecular Bonds
How to Find the Missing Side of a Right Triangle
How to Convert a Mixed Number to a Fractional Notation
Chemical Bonding Rules
Number of Protons in an Uncharged Atom
What Combination of Chromosomes Results in a Boy?
What Happens During Photosynthesis in Plants?
How to Calculate the Volume and Circumference of a...
How to Calculate a Circular Area
How to Find a Fraction of a Number
The Types of Cells Which Lack a Membrane Bound Nucleus
What Does It Tell You if Iron Has an Atomic Number...