What is a neutron and its charge? Discovery and mass of a neutron?

Do you know what is a neutron? Atoms combine to form different substances while all atoms are made up of subatomic particles like proton, electron, and neutron.

In atoms, protons and neutrons reside in the nucleus, while electrons revolve in elliptical orbits around the nucleus. The shells are named K, L, M, N, O, and P according to the distance from the nucleus.

What is a neutron
What is a neutron

In this article, we will discuss what is a neutron and also know about the discovery of neutron, its mass, properties of neutron, etc. So let's first know what is a neutron?

What is a neutron?

A neutron is a charge less fundamental particle that is found in every atom except the only hydrogen. Its symbol is n or n0. Protons and neutrons constitute the nucleus of atoms. Since protons and neutrons behave identically within the nucleus, and each has a mass of approximately one atomic mass unit, they are both referred to as nuclei. Their properties and interactions are described by nuclear physics.

The number of protons in an atom is fixed, it cannot be reduced. Normally the number of neutrons is also the same as that of protons but for some atoms, this number can change such that the number of neutrons and protons in carbon is 6 but there are many forms of carbon one of which is isotope carbon-13 which has the number of neutrons Is 7 and the number of protons is 6.

The chemical properties of an atom are mostly determined by the configuration of electrons that orbit the heavy nucleus of the atom. The electron configuration is determined by the charge of the nucleus, the number of protons, or the atomic number. Neutrons do not affect the electron configuration, but the atomic number and the number of protons, or the number of neutrons, are the mass of the nucleus.

See Also: What is Science?

Definition of neutron

A neutron is a neutral sub-atomic particle, which is found with a proton in the nucleus of an atom. It is represented by the N0 sign. The number of neutrons present in an element determines the mass of that element.

Mass of neutrons

The mass of a neutron is about 1.675 × 10−27kg or 939,565,413.3 eV / c2, or 1.00866491588 u. The mean square radius of it’s about 0.8 × 10–15 m or 0.8 fm, and is a spin – ½ fermion.

Properties of neutrons

The neutron has no measurable electric charge. It is unaffected by electric fields. It has a magnetic moment; however, it is affected by magnetic fields. The magnetic moment of a neutron has a negative value because its orientation is opposite to the spin of the neutron.

A free neutron remains unstable, with a proton, electron, and antineutrino decay, with a lifespan of just under 15 minutes. This radioactive decay is known as beta decay. This decay is possible because the mass of a neutron is slightly greater than that of a proton.

The Free proton is stable. Neutrons or protons bound in the nucleus may be stable or unstable, however, depending on the nuclide. Beta-decay, in which neutrons decay to protons, or vice versa, is controlled by a weak force, and this requires the emission or absorption of electrons and neutrons or their antiparticles.

See Also: What is energy?

Discovery of Neutron

Neutrons were discovered in 1932 by James Chadwick. In 1920, when protons were discovered by Ernest Rutherford, Chadwick worked with them when it was speculated that a charge less particle was expected to be found in the atom because the values ​​of atomic weight and The atomic number were different at that time.

After this, different scientists conducted many experiments and to some extent speculated that atoms can be present in the atom apart from electrons and protons.

Then in 1932, while James Chadwick was working at the University of Cambridge, England, he confirmed from his experiments that another particle is also found in the atom on which no charge is found and whose weight Is equivalent to the weight of protons, James Chadwick named this particle "neutron".

How the presence of neutrons was predicted

When Rutherford discovered the proton, it was said that the number of protons in an atom is the atomic number of elements. But when the atomic mass was extracted, it was found that the atomic mass was found to be slightly more than twice the atomic number.

These high values ​​in the atomic mass itself indicated that there is a particle other than the proton, electron in the atom which was later discovered by James Chadwick and named neutron.

After the discovery of neutrons

Atomic weight = atomic number (proton) + number of neutrons

Conclusion: Neutron is a neutral sub-atomic particle found with protons in the nucleus of an atom. Neutron has a role in determining the mass of an element.

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