The Bohr diagram, conceived by Danish physicist Niels Bohr in 1913, is a simplified model of the atom used to instruct students about how electrons are organised into energy levels. It is a classic diagram that features a nucleus in the middle and concentric circles drawn around it, like planets orbiting around the Sun. These diagrams are popular among chemistry teachers because they are easily drawn and provide a basic understanding of an atom's structure.
- Skill level:
Things you need
- Periodic Table
Find the element you want to diagram on the periodic table. Write down its atomic number and mass number: The atomic number represents the number of electrons in the element, which is vital information for the Bohr diagram.
Determine which period the element is in. "Periods" constitute rows on the periodic table and inform how many energy levels the atom will have: The first period (of hydrogen and helium) has one energy level, the second period has two energy levels, the third has three.
Draw a circle in the middle of a piece of paper to represent the nucleus. Write the element name, the number of protons and the number of neutrons inside the nucleus.
Draw circle(s) around the nucleus representing the energy levels. Draw the correct number of energy levels pertaining the element sketched.
Draw electrons as dots on the energy level rings. The first level can only hold two electrons; the second level can only hold eight; the third holds 18; the fourth holds 32; the fifth holds 50; and the sixth holds 72. While this totals 182, the largest element, Ununoctium (Uuo), only has 118 electrons; thus, the sixth ring is used sparingly.
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