Chem – Protons and Electrons


How do I find the protons and electrons of an element?

Different individual elements can have different amounts of the protons and electrons. Since having different amounts of each of these can determine how different elements can interact with others, scientists have organized them into a sheet called the periodic table. The periodic table is organized first by the number of PROTONS an individual atom of each element has. For the purposes of this section the number of protons will equal the number of electrons.

Each box on the periodic table contains the particular information for an element. At the top of each box is the atomic number. The atomic number is the amount of protons in one atom of that element. If it is a pure element, meaning it has no charge and is not connected to any other elements, then the atomic number also gives you the amount of electrons. In the middle of the periodic notation box is the elemental symbol.

To find different elements on the periodic table it is best to recognize them by the atomic number. As we go across a row (from left to right) the atomic number increases. Once we get to the end of the row on the right, we have to start back at the beginning of the next row on the left. So, the end of the first row is Helium (He). The start of the second row is Lithium (Li). The end of the second row is Neon (Ne) and the beginning of the third row is Sodium (Na). This pattern of increasing atomic number continues all the way through the periodic table. Take a minute to make sure you understand this pattern by trying to look at it on the periodic table.

Examples: How many protons and electrons do these pure elements have according to the periodic table? VIDEO Determining Protons and Electrons from the periodic table Examples 1.

Neon 10 protons and 10 electrons
Lithium 3 protons and 3 electrons
Silicon 14 protons and 14 electrons


PRACTICE PROBLEMS: How many protons and electrons do these pure elements have according to the periodic table?

Chlorine 17 protons and 17 electrons
Potassium 19 protons and 19 electrons
Boron 5 protons and 5 electrons
Gold 79 protons and 79 electrons
Iodine 53 protons and 53 electrons
Mercury 80 protons and 80 electrons



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