Chemistry – Atomic Structure and Nuclear Chemistry Essay

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Alpha Particle
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Consist of two protons and two neutrons and are identical to helium-4 nuclei.
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Anion
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A negatively charged ion; the type of ion that nonmetals become when they gain electrons.
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Atom
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The smallest representative particle of an element.
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Atomic Mass Number
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The total number of protons and neutrons in an atomic nucleus; can be noted by the symbol A; differs for different isotopes of the same element.
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Atomic Mass Unit
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The standard unit for indicating the mass of an atom on the atomic scale; is defined as 1/12 of the mass of a carbon-12 atom; can be noted by the symbols amu or u.
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Atomic Number
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The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom; is the same for all isotopes of the same element; is unique to an element and is used to distinguish one element from another; can be noted by the symbol Z.
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Average Atomic Mass
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Is the calculated average of all the atomic masses of all of the isotopes of the same element; is displayed on a periodic table under the element symbol.
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Beta Particle
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Energetic electrons emitted from the nucleus.
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Cation
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A positively charged ion; the type of ion that metals become when they lose electrons.
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Electron
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Subatomic particle that is negatively charged; located outside of the nucleus of an atom.
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Energy Levels
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The name for the levels of locations for electrons; are described by numbers: 1, 2, 3,4, 5,6,7.
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Energy Sublevels
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The subdivisions of energy levels to describe electron locations; designated by the letters: s, p, d, f
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Fission
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The splitting of large nucleus into two or more smaller nuclei.
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Fusion
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The joining of two lighter nuclei into a heavier nuclei.
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Gamma Radiation
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An energetic electromagnetic radiation coming from the nucleus of a radioactive atom; generated in stars when a positron and an electron collide during the fusion process.
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Ion
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A positively or negatively charged atom or group of atoms that has lost or gained one or more electrons.
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Isotope
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Different types of atoms of the same element that differ only by the number of neutrons, which gives a different mass number for elements of the same atomic number.
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Neutron
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Subatomic particle that is electrically neutral (neither positive nor negative); found in the nucleus of an atom.
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Nucleus
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The small, dense portion of an atom that consists of protons and neutrons.
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Orbital
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The subdivision of the energy sublevels to describe electron locations.
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s sublevel
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1 orbital in this sublevel
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p sublevel
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3 orbitals in this sublevel
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d sublevel
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5 orbitals in this sublevel
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f sublevel
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7 orbitals in this sublevel
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Proton
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Subatomic particle that is positively charged; located in the nucleus of an atom.
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Radioactive Decay
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The disintegration of an unstable nucleus that causes one or more new nuclei to form; typically emits alpha particles, beta particles, or gamma rays.
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Valence Electron
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The outermost electrons that are used in bonding.

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