• Question: wat r da different tyes of atom.

    Asked by queenofscience to Derek, Sarah, Tim, Tom on 22 Jun 2011.
    • Photo: Tom Crick

      Tom Crick answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      The different types of atoms are called the chemical elements: these are pure chemical substances consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number (the number of protons in its nucleus). Familiar examples of elements include gold, iron, copper, carbon, oxygen, nitrogen and hydrogen.

      Elements have different numbers of protons in their nucleus, whereas isotopes of a specific element have different numbers of neutrons in the nucleus e.g. hydrogen (one proton, no neutrons), deuterium (hydrogen-2: one proton, one neutron — a stable isotope of hydrogen), tritium (hydrogen-3: one proton, two neutrons — this is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen).

      Check out the periodic table of videos from the University of Nottingam to see a video describing each element.

    • Photo: Sarah Thomas

      Sarah Thomas answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      Yup as Tom says, the different types of atoms are the chemical elements that you can see in the periodic table. There are metals, metalloids, transition metals and non-metals, and they can be in all different states: solid, liquid or gas.

      I think the really amazing thing about all the different kinds of atoms is all the different properties they can have!

      Metals are malleable (can be hammered into a shape), they are shiny, and they are good conductors of heat and electricity. Metals atoms also have a tendency to lose electrons!

      Non metals have a tendency to pick up electrons! And they can be solids, liquids or gases whereas all metals are solids (apart from Hg).

      Metalloids are either side of that line between metals and non-metals and they cool thing about them is that they can exhibit the properties of both – for example did you know that silicon can conduct electricity?!

    • Photo: Derek McKay-Bukowski

      Derek McKay-Bukowski answered on 22 Jun 2011:

      There are several ways of looking at this question… one is what are the different types of atoms — namely the elements — which is what the others have answered.

      However, another way of asking this is: what are the different types of atoms of a SINGLE ELEMENT.

      I mean, there are carbon atoms and there are carbon atoms… any they may not be the same!

      The thing that makes it carbon is the number of protons. For carbon it is 6. If you have 6 protons, it is carbon. One more (Nitrogen) or one less (Boron) and it is something else.

      The thing that defines which isotope of carbon it is, is the number of neutrons to go with the protons. Not any number is possible, because “too many” or “too few” make the atom unstable and it breaks up.

      The common ones for carbon are Carbon-12 and Carbon-14.