Properties of an Atom. Atom and Paperclip Demonstration
Statement of purpose
For centuries, humans have been fascinated by the composition of ordinary matter (Snyder, 1998). The contemporary understandings of atoms come from numerous grounds in chemistry and physics. The concept of an atom was pioneered from primeval Greek science and from the findings of eighteenth and nineteenth-century chemistry (Snyder, 1998). The experiment below offers learners with the modern view of an atom. The atom and paper clip demonstration illustrate basic properties of an atom. Indicated below are fundamental concepts that will be used in the analysis:
- Atom- tiniest portion of an element, which upholds its chemical properties
- compound –materials, which can be fragmented into elements by chemical reactions
Summary of procedure
A pile of 15 to 20 paper clips were placed on a level surface and assumed that a bar of pure gold was placed next to the materials. Thereafter, a pile of paper clips was subdivided roughly in into a half. One of the new and smaller collections was further divided into halves. The process was repeated until a single pile consisting of a unit paper clip. Thereafter, it was assumed that the same demonstration was undertaken with the bar of gold. The learners pictured themselves separating the fictional bar in half repeatedly until the smallest particle of the bar is achieved.
Methods used to complete the investigation
In the experiment illustrated above, a paper clip represented a single atom. Therefore, the total number paper clips signified the number of atoms present in a single element. The subdivision of a pile of paper clips demonstrated the splitting of an element into finite atoms. Thereafter, a fictional experiment was undertaken using a bar of gold. The procedures used were the same as those utilized in the paper clip analysis.
Summary of the results
During the demonstration, it was observed that all paper clips were the same in size and shape. It was also noted that no new paper clips appeared, were lost, nor transformed in size or color. Lastly, it was observed that the total mass and weight of the paper piles used were the same at the start and the end of the experiment.
|Trials||1st trial||2ndtrial||3rd trial||Last trial|
|The number of paper clips||64||32||16||1|
Figure 1: data collected and their calculations
Significance of the findings
The demonstration indicated that all elements are made of atoms just as shown by the heaps of paper clips. In the experiment, it was noted that all the paper clips remained the same with respect to their size and color after they were divided into tiny piles. The findings showed that element’s atoms are unchanged (Snyder, 1998). The demonstration also proved that during chemical reactions atoms are not made, demolished, or altered. During the experiment, no new paper clips appeared, were lost, nor transformed in size or color. Equally, the experimentation illustrates that in each compound the quantities and types of atoms remain unchanged. As such, the total mass and weight of the paper piles used were the same at the start and the end of the experiment. The error or limitation, which might have compromised my findings is the assumption that all the paper clips had equal sizes, mass, and shapes.
Snyder, C. (1998). The extraordinary chemistry of ordinary things (4th ed.). New York: John Wiley.