Copper's Atomic Structure Essay

1342 WordsNov 7, 20106 Pages
Copper is the 29th element in the periodic table, located more specifically at group 11, period 4. Because of its chemical and physical attributes, it is a transition metal, which denotes high boiling and melting points. Both a conductor of heat and electricity, Copper is ductile and malleable. Its symbol “Cu” derives from the Latin cuprum. Copper is also valued for its two-for-one practicality: it is a vital nutrient that has antibacterial properties. Aside from what many people generally know about Copper (the “common knowledge,” so to speak), there is much information regarding its atomic buildup. Every element’s atoms are composed of three main subatomic particles: neutrons, electrons and protons. Located in the atom’s nucleus,…show more content…
Copper has atomic number 29 and mass number 63.546 u. With that information, one can deduce that Copper has 29 protons (the atomic number) and 35 neutrons (mass number minus atomic number). For all decimal cases, mass number is rounded up to the closest integer, so Copper is listed as having 35 neutrons instead of 34.546 neutrons. This discrepancy exists because Copper’s atomic mass is the average atomic mass of a mixture of isotopes (in this case, Copper atoms that differ in their neutrons count). For the purpose of this essay, we should only mention two isotopes of Copper: the two stable, naturally occurring isotopes. These isotopes are Cu with mass number 63 and a percent abundance of 69.17 (while still keeping atomic number of 29) and Cu with mass number 65 and a percent abundance of 30.83 (once again, atomic number 29). Copper has 27 other isotopes, whose mass numbers range from 52 to 80, but they are radioactive, highly unstable, and sustain very short half-lives. As stated before, a proton carries a positive charge and an electron has a negative charge. So, as logic and basic mathematics would suggest, an atom is always electrically neutral when the number of protons equals the number of electrons and the two cumulative charges cancel. For Copper to be neutral, its electron count must match its atomic number 29, so one can infer

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