Subatomic Particles and their Role in Determining an Atom’s Mass
It is made up of subatomic particles such as electrons protons and neutrons that determine the mass an atom. Electrons are the lightest particles, accounting for only 0.05% of an atom’s mass (Szabo, 2016). Protons, on the other hand, have a much greater impact on the mass of an atom, making up nearly all of an atom’s mass. Neutrons, though slightly heavier than protons, still make up a relatively small proportion of an atom’s mass (Nave, 2021). The number of protons and neutrons found in an atom will determine the element as well as the atom’s mass. Because these particles possess mass unlike electrons, this is why they are important. The number of electrons, however, will affect the atom’s charge and other properties (Barker, 2020).
The element is responsible for determining the number and type of protons and neutrons contained in an atom. It is also known as the “atomic number”. All atoms of an element have the exact same number and therefore the same mass.