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Author Topic: What is the "empty space" in an atom?  (Read 1924 times)
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April 22, 2014, 11:26:42 AM
 #1

I've taken a bit of chemistry in my life, but something that's always confused me has been the idea of empty space in an atom. I understand the layout of the atom and how its almost entirely "empty space". But when I think of "empty space" I think of air, which is obviously comprised of atoms. So is the empty space in an atom filled with smaller atoms? If I take it a step further, the truest "empty space" I know of is a vacuum. So is the empty space of an atom actually a vacuum?
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April 22, 2014, 11:29:41 AM
 #2

Dark matter
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April 22, 2014, 12:04:50 PM
Last edit: April 22, 2014, 12:36:10 PM by kuroman
 #3

Dark matter
lol, no.

Empty space is at it says it's empty space a Vacuum if you may, no Atom just space (space is an entity) actually.


As for the empty space in an Atom, Atoms are them selfs composed of subatomic particals, Electron, Neutron and Protons, which are them self composed of Quarks, Bosons ect ect according to the standard model, the reference of empty space in atom, is the huge distance (in the atomic scale of course) between there particles in the normal state of matter.

To explain in simple terms, take the example of a sponge, a sponge has a certain volume right? but if you look at it you see that it is filled with holes with no plastic in them, if you compress the sponge to compensate for the holes in it you'll get the real quantity and volume of plastic in that state.

(if you understood don't read beyond this it might confuse you even more)

So to understand the huge amount of empty space inside an atom, we can look at exotic state of matter in the Univers, and lets take the example of the sponge again, to compress matter you need huge forces! an Example would Star cores where gravity applies such forces on matter and the energy from nuclear fusion counter that force, but what happens when there is no more fuel in the star for nuclear fusion, well gravity wins, and depending on the weight of the star the matter get compressed intel a force counter gravity, example a star like the Sun once it full is done, it core will compress to a white dwarf a white dwarf is about the size of earth yet it weighs the same as the sun (for reference the sun is millions of times bigger than earth in normal state) and the the force that prevent furthur compression is called the electron degeneracy, if the Star is heavier than the sun like 20 times the mass of the sun of the sun, the force Gravity goes beyond electron degeneracy pressure, and it manage to fuse Proton and Electrons to make neutrons, and you'll end up (with a huge bang called a supernova) and a Neutron star, to put into perspective a Neutron Star weighs from 1.5 to 3 times the Mass of the sun (if it goes beyond that it will become some else and the force that's stop it from going any further is neutron degeneracy pressure) with a diameter of a dozen of kms, to put into perspective, a spoon of neutron star matter is weighs the same as much as the Everest mountains Yup that's the amount of empty space you have in matter in normal state, and of course if the Star is heavier than 40 times than the Sun, you end up with the ultimate state of matter, (gravity wins) you end up with a stellar blackhole (and an even bigger bang a Hypernova) ....


As for empty space
According to Quantum Mechanics and new theories, there is no such thing as empty as elementary practicals of matter and antimatter appears and instantly disappears in space but that's beyond what you need to know for now.
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April 22, 2014, 12:17:02 PM
 #4

can anyone tell me what is god particle they refer too.? 

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April 22, 2014, 12:21:10 PM
 #5

can anyone tell me what is god particle they refer too.? 
Higgs boson?
You could have found that easily using google.
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson

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April 22, 2014, 12:21:24 PM
 #6

I've taken a bit of chemistry in my life, but something that's always confused me has been the idea of empty space in an atom. I understand the layout of the atom and how its almost entirely "empty space". But when I think of "empty space" I think of air, which is obviously comprised of atoms. So is the empty space in an atom filled with smaller atoms? If I take it a step further, the truest "empty space" I know of is a vacuum. So is the empty space of an atom actually a vacuum?
One other interesting fact is an atom is made up of 90% " empty space " and everything in this universe is made up of " Atoms " You , Me, this computer screen, the keyboard everything is made up of " Atoms " and atoms are 90% "Empty Space" so the interesting thing is thing is that the computer screen you looking into is made up of 90% " empty space "  , now try to explain me this BS.

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April 22, 2014, 12:26:03 PM
 #7

can anyone tell me what is god particle they refer to.? 
Higgs boson?
You could have found that easily using google.
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson
Hmm that I know but my reply was my answer to the question asked by OP, I don't know if i'm correct..!

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April 22, 2014, 12:30:37 PM
 #8

can anyone tell me what is god particle they refer to.? 
Higgs boson?
You could have found that easily using google.
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson
Hmm that I know but my reply was my answer to the question asked by OP, I don't know if i'm correct..!
You aren't making any sense at all. What are you trying to say? Please try writing in a correct and proper manner.

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April 22, 2014, 12:32:06 PM
 #9

I'd recommend watching the,new tv series "Cosmos" with Neil DeGrasse Tyson. Really changed how I view the world in 5 episodes. (there are 7 out now)

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April 22, 2014, 12:41:09 PM
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Try thinking of it backwards, that space is a super-dense liquid crystal under maximum pressure and that matter is a dynamic area of lower pressure. With the pressure of the entire universe pushing on it one can easily see how a little atom can have so much potential energy and yet be mostly "empty space".

I hope this makes some sense. Now where did I put my tin-foil hat...



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April 22, 2014, 12:42:14 PM
 #11

can anyone tell me what is god particle they refer to.? 
Higgs boson?
You could have found that easily using google.
Here you go: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Higgs_boson
Hmm that I know but my reply was my answer to the question asked by OP, I don't know if i'm correct..!
You aren't making any sense at all. What are you trying to say? Please try writing in a correct and proper manner.
Never Mind Sir I'll just give it a pass..! will study the subject more  and will comeback with some new clear info if i get.! just give me few more years... maybe between 1k-2k will be enough for me.. !

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April 22, 2014, 12:47:40 PM
 #12

I've taken a bit of chemistry in my life, but something that's always confused me has been the idea of empty space in an atom. I understand the layout of the atom and how its almost entirely "empty space". But when I think of "empty space" I think of air, which is obviously comprised of atoms. So is the empty space in an atom filled with smaller atoms? If I take it a step further, the truest "empty space" I know of is a vacuum. So is the empty space of an atom actually a vacuum?
One other interesting fact is an atom is made up of 90% " empty space " and everything in this universe is made up of " Atoms " You , Me, this computer screen, the keyboard everything is made up of " Atoms " and atoms are 90% "Empty Space" so the interesting thing is thing is that the computer screen you looking into is made up of 90% " empty space "  , now try to explain me this BS.

Explained above in my initial reply^^, the Empty space is due to the different forces (there are 4) thats rules the world, ruling the subparticales interactions, Strong, Weak nuclear force, Electromagnetism and the weakest of all Gravity. To really simplify this (even if it is far from being an accurate representation)  look at gravity, look at the solar system for example, the solar system is filled with huge gaps , the gaps between planets orbits metorites ect ect, yet the solar system is a thing, the same can be said for galaxies, when you look at these megastructure, they are composed of stars dusts, planetes ect ect, and just to put things into perspective, the space between stars is so immense, the if you assimilate a star to a basketball, the next star (other basketball) would be hundreds if not thousands of kms away
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April 22, 2014, 02:11:06 PM
 #13

The empty space in an atom is not filled with smaller atoms. That space is a "vacuum" in that there are no atoms in it ...but an atmospheric vacuum isn't the same thing at a subatomic scale as we experience at our scale. A hydrogen atom is about 99.9999999999996% empty space.

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April 22, 2014, 02:25:37 PM
 #14

Don't forget that it's just a model. Nobody actually observed the so called empty space directly.

The same holds true for the various other exotic particles that have been discovered. Question is if we can even imagine the ''true nature'' of such phenomena as these constitute our own existence and our ability to think about them.

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April 22, 2014, 02:51:37 PM
 #15



As for empty space
According to Quantum Mechanics and new theories, there is no such thing as empty as elementary practicals of matter and antimatter appears and instantly disappears in space but that's beyond what you need to know for now.


I believe too that is no such empty space. Before we believe that atom is the smallest particle until we discovered electrons and then quarks. I believe there is no end of it. There are always smaller things to discover as well as bigger things. Space is infinite, they call it universe but I call it multiverse. Space is just so vast that cannot see it all. Light is so slow, we will only discover this other verse once we discover a particle that moves a trillion times faster than light, but to discover this particle we must also need to detect/discover a particle a trillion times smaller than quarks.
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April 22, 2014, 03:00:05 PM
 #16

I've taken a bit of chemistry in my life, but something that's always confused me has been the idea of empty space in an atom. I understand the layout of the atom and how its almost entirely "empty space". But when I think of "empty space" I think of air, which is obviously comprised of atoms. So is the empty space in an atom filled with smaller atoms? If I take it a step further, the truest "empty space" I know of is a vacuum. So is the empty space of an atom actually a vacuum?

There are no empty spaces in atoms. There is the nucleus at the middle, and electrons surrounding the nucleus. It sounds like you are thinking of electrons as particles, that will lead you into misconceptions of atomic phenomena. The electrons form standing waves around the nucleus.

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April 22, 2014, 03:10:28 PM
 #17

This "empty space" idea is a holdover from scattering experiments performed during the dawn of the 20th century. Most of the space in an atom is composed by the probability distribution of the electrons in the atom.

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April 22, 2014, 03:28:31 PM
 #18

this is an unfortunate consequence of meddling by popular culture. "Observe" here means some interaction ("bouncing" a particle off of it); consciousness is irrelevant, except of course in evaluating the data.

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April 22, 2014, 03:31:17 PM
 #19

This "empty space" idea is a holdover from scattering experiments performed during the dawn of the 20th century. Most of the space in an atom is composed by the probability distribution of the electrons in the atom.

These experiments, if I am thinking of the same ones you are, more properly explain that most of the atom is "not the nucleus", not that most of the atom is "empty space". Of course, they still teach the Bohr model in schools, so it is no surprise that people get confused even after taking "some chemistry".

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April 22, 2014, 03:37:34 PM
 #20

This "empty space" idea is a holdover from scattering experiments performed during the dawn of the 20th century. Most of the space in an atom is composed by the probability distribution of the electrons in the atom.

These experiments, if I am thinking of the same ones you are, more properly explain that most of the atom is "not the nucleus", not that most of the atom is "empty space". Of course, they still teach the Bohr model in schools, so it is no surprise that people get confused even after taking "some chemistry".

The atom is like a solar system. The nucleus is the sun and the electrons is the planets.
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