Protons vs Electrons – What’s the Difference? (Simplified)

We often get confused Between what are the Major Difference Between Protons and Electrons, what makes them distinctive from each other, and why they are the important agents to build and runs the universe, So let’s see a major difference between Protons vs Electrons.

What is an Atoms and How it Works

Everything is made of atoms, but what makes an atom? Basically, an Atom is made of 3 components Protons, Electrons, and Neutrons.

Protons vs Electrons

There are almost 118+ different types of atoms, each one is different from the other, different masses, chemical compositions, different behavior, and many other different things that separate these atoms from each other.

An atom is the smallest part of an Element, for better understanding take a look at the atoms of gold(Au), Carbon(C) & Hydrogen(H).

These all are atoms, these all are also Molecules because a molecule is a cluster of an atom, So what’s the difference between these three?

They all have different properties, they don’t look or act the same, but why is that so? what makes them different from each other, well the answer lies in, What’s inside the Atom?

An atom is made of 3 types of tiny particles Protons, Electrons, and Neutrons and each of these tiny particles does something special to the atom, these special particles are the reason why each and every atom is different from each other.

Protons play a very important role in differentiating between atoms, because of proton each and every atom has different structures, properties, and chemical compositions.

difference between Protons vs Electrons

If we take a look at the first element of the periodic table we can see, Hydrogen(H) has only 1 proton likewise Helium(He) has 2, and Lithium has 3 protons in its orbit, and it goes on and on till element 118.

So this is some basic info about an Atom, Let’s dig deep into the world of Particle Chemistry and see what’s the difference between a Proton and an Electron.

The reason for the comparison between Proton vs Electron is because it is used in making od particle accelerators, let’s have a look at where have they located “All Major Particle Accelerator Locations Around the World“.

An Atom always has the same number of Protons and Electrons for Stabilityor for maintaining Equilibrium.

What is a Proton?

Ernest Rutherford and Niels Bohr published a model of the atom going back to 1913, where they atom how to positively charged nucleus and electrons in orbit and in 1920 Rutherford then gave that positive charge the name.

The proton is their problems over the next decade isotopes of atoms were found and they’re found at integer multiples of hydrogen, which meant that there was something else in the nucleus that didn’t have a positive charge.

Like the proton and probably had roughly about the same mass and so in 1932 the neutral Neutron was discovered by James Chadwick.

difference between Protons and Electrons

A proton and electron is a hydrogen atom but if you add another proton for two separated by neutrons you have the helium atom three protons is lithium and you keep adding protons until you get to you know 118 and you form all of the known elements and that’s the periodic table of elements.

How Proton Works

The Number of Protons in an Atom is also called its Atomic Number.

But really it wasn’t as simple as just the proton being a particle that has a single positive charge it’s like putting together the pieces of a puzzle and until you have all those pieces you really don’t understand the picture.

so we’re gonna ask that question again what’s in a proton and to answer that question we have to go back through all the different experiments to understand the components of an atom.

And really is confusing and it started to get confusing in 1968 when the proton was determined to be a composite particle meaning that it is consisting of other particles.

It was determined at that time that it consists of three quarks and the neutron also consists of three quarks, but there’s a difference in their type of quirks that you can see that the important thing to note is that a quark has never been found in isolation.

What is an Electron?

Now that we know what an atom is and what it’s made up of we can look at how this form structures those white lines surrounding the center of the atom are known as the electron shell and is where the electrons spread out in orbit nucleus.

what is the difference between Protons and Electrons

Electrons move around a nucleus of an atom in concentric orbits these orbits or shells represent different energy states that electrons can exhibit the farther an electron is from the nucleus the greater its potential energy is developed.

How Electron Works

Electrons are much smaller than protons, They Zip-around Protons at Lightning speed making up something called an Electron Cloud.

difference between Protons vs Electrons

Electrons do this because they have a Negative(-ve) Electrical Charge, which always pulls towards Proton’s Positive(+ve) Electrical Charge.

difference between electron vs proton

This pull between the +ve Proton and -ve Electron creates an imaginary force known as “Electric Force”.

Misconceptions Between Protons and Electrons

I want to talk about one of the biggest mistakes one of the biggest misconceptions in chemistry that are specifically related to Protons and Electrons.

So many people think that the number of protons in an atom always has to equal the number of electrons.

electron vs proton what's the difference

Let’s say, I draw an atom like this okay it’s got four protons and two electrons, but then many people will argue with me about it, that it’s totally wrong this and that, that picture is wrong it has four protons and two electrons in an atom there always have to be the same number of protons and electrons.

Well, this is not true all the time there are lots of times when the number of protons and the number of electrons in an atom when they’re different when an atom or a group of atoms has a different number of protons and electrons.

Because it has an electrical charge and we call it an ion. an Ion is something that has a charge on lt’s own now you probably run into a whole bunch of ions just in your study of chemistry.

Examples of Dissimilarities Between Protons and Electrons

As from the above paragraph, there are lots of misconceptions about Protons and Electrons, that they always have the same number of protons and electrons, and so on, here are some of the exceptional examples.

difference between Protons vs Electrons

Here’s Cl- which is chloride it has 17 protons and 18 electrons it got that one more electron due to which it is a chlorine molecule.

So it has a 1- charge or Mg2+ it’s got 12 protons and only 10 electrons those 2 extra protons give it a 2+ charge.

We can also have groups of atoms that together don’t have the same number of protons and electrons we call those polyatomic ions.

So those are things like ammonium NH4+ which has 11 protons altogether and 10 electrons all together with a 1+ charge altogether.

So clearly there are tons of examples and these are only a few of them there are tons of examples of atoms and groups of atoms that have different numbers of protons electrons.

so then where does this misconception come from why do so many people think that atoms and groups of atoms always have to have the same number of protons and electrons?

Well according to me, I think this might be the reason if an atom is electrically neutral which means it doesn’t have a charge that atom does have the same number of protons and electrons, and a lot of times we assume that atoms are neutral.

so if somebody asks you how many electrons are in the oxygen you might take a look at the periodic table find oxygen this number up here is the atomic number which gives you the number of protons so we can say that there are eight protons in oxygen.

Protons vs Electrons

The relation between Protons and Electrons is like husband and wife, they don’t like each other but they cannot live without each other as well.

So why we are comparing Proton vs Electron? the major reason behind that is that because these two are the most important components that control the Identity of an atom and how that identity confirms is just by calculating the number of electrons in an atom.

So why the difference between protons and electrons is important we will discuss that in our upcoming blog but still, see protons are attached with neutrons for maintaining the stability of an atom and electrons revolve around them.

They revolve around protons and neutrons in a specific quantity with a specific orbit and order, and because of that, an atom gains its identity, structure, volume, properties, and many more.

So due to this finding difference between a proton and an Electron is quite important for better understanding, let’s see the difference between Protons vs electrons.

Difference Between Protons and Electrons

Basis of ClassificationProtonsElectrons
LocationPresent in the Nucleus of an AtomPresent outside the Nucleus of an Atom
ChargePositive (+ve)Negative (-ve)
Magnitude of Charge1.6022×10^-19 Columb1.6022×10^-19 Columb
Mass(amu)1.6726219 × 10-27 kilograms9.10938356 × 10-31 kilograms
RepresentationProtons are Represented as “p”Electrons are represented as “e”
Adding in an atomAdding a proton to an atom is
extremely difficult, nearly impossible
We can easily add one or multiple Electrons to an atom
Removing from an AtomRemoving an atom from an electron is nearly impossible because the process is extremely difficult and hazardous.We can easily remove electrons from an atom.
MobilityProtons are less mobile as compared to electronsElectrons are very fast-moving, it mostly depends on the outer orbit of the atom, the conductivity of the metal also depends on the flow of electrons in an atom.
Attraction to Electric FieldProtons get attracted towards the Negative(-ve) side.Electron gets attracted towards the Positive(+ve) side.
Discovery year18861897
Discovered byEugene GoldsteinEnglish physicist J.J. Thomson
Relative Mass (proton = 1)1.00.000555

Which Force is Between Electron and Proton

Screenshot 2021 07 27 215950 1

The invisible force between +ve Proton and -ve Electron is called “Electric Force”

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