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Electrons aren't actually calculated in the traditional sense. The number of electrons in an atom is determined by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in the nucleus. For electrically neutral atoms (atoms that don't have a charge), the number of electrons is equal to the number of protons.

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Here's a breakdown:

  • Protons: These are positively charged particles found in the nucleus of an atom. The number of protons is unique to each element and is its atomic number.
  • Electrons: These are negatively charged particles that orbit the nucleus. In a neutral atom, the number of electrons balances the number of protons, resulting in no overall electrical charge.

So, if you know the atomic number of an element, you can look it up on a periodic table or reference chart to find the number of electrons. For example, the atomic number of hydrogen is 1, so a neutral hydrogen atom has 1 electron. The atomic number of carbon is 6, so a neutral carbon atom has 6 electrons.


  • Ions: Ions are atoms that have gained or lost electrons, resulting in a positive or negative charge. For example, a sodium ion (Na+) has lost one electron compared to a neutral sodium atom. So, you would need to account for the ion's charge to determine the number of electrons it possesses.
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