An electron is an elementary particle of an atom, with a negative and simple electric charge (Alexander, 12). Approximately, the mass of an electron is 1/1836 the mass of the protons. An electron is an elementary particle i.e.it is not composed of other particles. The nucleus in the atom is usually surrounded by electrons which are equal in number to the protons in the element. At average, the structure of an atom has a 10-8 centimeter diameter (Michael107). An atom basically remains undivided in a chemical reaction with a very small transfer, exchange or removal of some electrons.
The idea of the existence of atoms was developed in 460 B.C., by a Greek philosopher known as Democritus. In the discovery, Democritus explained how after breaking a piece of matter by a half, and consequently breaking the pieces, the eventual result would be the smallest bits of the substance. The basic particles were atoms. The discovery by Democritus did not draw much attention. Aristotle, the biggest opinion shaper among the philosopher dismissed the idea as worthless. It is not until the 1800s, that more experiments on the structure of matter were performed. In the early 1800, John Dalton, a chemist in England conducted experiments using several chemicals that proved that indeed, matter consist of particles (atoms). Later in 1897, J.J. Thomson discovered that every atom had an electron. He developed a model to illustrate the atomic structure.
Role of electrons and Neutrons
The neutron plays a significant role in the atomic structure. Being located in the nucleus of the atom, the neutron function is to contribute nuclear glue to fix the nucleus together. The nucleus consists of protons and neutrons. The protons discharge positive energy that often makes the protons to repel each other. To neutralize the repulsive charge, of the proton, neutrons provide binding energy (Frank 49). The protons and the neutrons discharge some of their mass, which is converted into a gluing energy to hold the nucleus together. Electrons, on the other hand play a significant role when forming a chemical bond with atoms of other elements. During a chemical reaction, the valence electrons, often located on the outer shell of the atom, form a chemical bond with other atoms. Every atom follows the octet rule i.e. the outer shell is comprised of 8 full electrons. Atoms, which do not comply with the octet rule, must loose or gain their electrons in order to stabilize (Morris, 56).
The role of the electrons in chemical bonds can be well illustrated with the example of table salt i.e. (Sodium Chloride) Na+CL ——>NaCl. Electrons also play a significant role in chemical bonding, in the process of forming molecules. When the outer shells of two different atoms combine, they subsequently form molecules. This can be illustrated in the case of water where Hydrogen and Oxygen outer most electrons combine to form water. In the case of water, the molecules share electrons (Nigel56). Atoms which share electrons are known as ions (Frank 36). This process is made possible by the outer shell of the atoms which share the electrons leading to a bond. The cardinal rule, when demonstrating the process of chemical bonding, is the ability of the electron to orbit at a fixed distance from the neutron. Electrons orbit at affixed distance from the neutron
These electrons also play a significant role in technology. They explain how chemists use the different electrons to form different substances.