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Answered 2011-09-03 22:26:36

The particles with charge within atoms are protons (positive charge) and electrons (negative charge). The charge on a single electron is equal in magnitude to the charge on a single proton. Thus if there are equal numbers of protons and neutrons in an atom, the charge of that atom will be zero/neutral.

For example, a carbon atom always has 6 protons (definitive of carbon). If it also has 6 electrons, it will be neutral! Oxygen atoms have 8 protons. If they also have 8 electrons, they will be neutral. The positive and negative charges cancel each other out.

For example, with oxygen..... +8 for the protons and -8 for the electrons (remember each single proton's charge is equal in magnitude to that of a single electron's).......add them together and.......+8 + (-8) and you get 0. Neutral!

(Atoms are not neutrally charged if they have different numbers of protons and electrons. If the number of protons and electrons differ in an atom, the atom is referred to as an ion.)

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