What Are the Two Major Components of an Atom?

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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.

Nucleus

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.

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About the Author

Samuel Markings has been writing for scientific publications for more than 10 years, and has published articles in journals such as "Nature." He is an expert in solid-state physics, and during the day is a researcher at a Russell Group U.K. university.

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