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What are the main features of the structure of atoms?

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  • Atoms of all the elements (except hydrogen) are made up of three fundamental (sub-atomic) particles: electrons, protons, and neutrons. (Hydrogen atom lacks neutrons).
  • The nucleus is located at the center of the atom. It contains protons and neutrons, which account for the total mass of that atom.
  • The nucleus is positively charged due to the presence of protons in it.
  • The electrons are outside the nucleus and have negligible mass.
  • The number of electrons in an atom is equal to the number of protons in it, hence the atom is electrically neutral.
  • The electrons revolve rapidly in fixed circular paths around the nucleus. These circular paths are called energy levels or shells or orbits.
  • The atoms of different elements contain different numbers of electrons, protons and, neutrons.

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