Differences Between Protons and Electrons

Last Updated on March 19, 2022 by QCity Editorial Stuff

Protons and electrons are two different particles that both exist in the atom. Protons have a positive charge, while electrons have a negative charge. They each play an important role in how atoms form and function. Protons are made up of three quarks, which are much heavier than an electron’s one quark weight. This makes protons more difficult to move around, so they stay at the center of the atom where it is most dense, whereas electrons will orbit outside where there is less density. The nucleus of an atom consists of protons and neutrons with no electrons present at all since they’re on the outside orbiting around them. For atoms to come together as molecules these charges must be balanced out by pairing off protons and electrons.

Protons and electrons are two of the most common particles in atoms. They both have a negative charge, but they are very different from one another. Protons are much more massive than electrons so it is easy to tell them apart by comparing their masses. Electrons move faster around the nucleus of an atom because they only have one unit of positive charge whereas protons have two units of positive charge. The speed at which an electron orbit around the nucleus is determined by how far away it is from the nucleus based on its distance or orbital radius while protons determine their speed based on their momentum or linear velocity.

Comparison between Protons and Electrons

Parameters of ComparisonProtonsElectrons
SmallerLarger than electronsSmaller
ChargeProtons have a positive chargeelectrons have a negative charge
Orbitprotons stay put in the centerElectrons orbit around the nucleus of an atom
1836Mass greaterLess greater
From,Protons and neutrons together form the nucleuselectrons orbit around them at various distances from the nucleus

What are Protons?

Protons are positively charged particles found in the nucleus of an atom. They have a mass about 1800 times that of an electron and a positive electric charge equal to the negative charge on an electron. The proton is one component in atomic nuclei, which also contains neutrons and electrons; protons and neutrons makeup nearly all atomic nuclei but account for only about 1% of their total mass. Protons form part of the backbone structure for atoms by binding together with neutrons to create atomic nuclei. This makes them essential for many chemical reactions such as photosynthesis, which converts light energy into food through plant life, or when water is broken down into hydrogen gas (H2) and oxygen gas (O2). 

Protons are positively charged particles that make up the nucleus of an atom. Protons have a mass of 1.6726×10-27 kg and have a positive charge due to their protons being in the negative electric field created by electrons orbiting around them. All atoms contain at least one proton, with hydrogen-containing only one proton and uranium having 92 protons. The number of neutrons in an atom determines how unstable that particular isotope will be; for example, Uranium 238 has 92 protons but 146 neutrons and is less stable than its counterpart Uranium 235 which contains 92 protons and 143 neutrons as well as three more neutrally charged particles known as ‘neutrons’.

Differences Between Protons and Electrons

What are Electrons?

Electrons are tiny particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom. They have a negative charge and they exist in different orbitals or energy levels. Electrons can be transferred from one level to another by absorbing or emitting light and this is known as the electron shell model. This blog post will touch on how electrons relate to other areas such as chemistry and electricity.

Electrons are the fundamental particles of electricity. They are negatively charged and can be found orbiting around an atom’s nucleus. These particles have a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of protons or neutrons, but their charge is the same magnitude as these other particles. Electrons surround the nucleus in different energy levels with higher amounts of energy corresponding to higher orbitals. This means electrons will only change orbits if they receive enough kinetic energy from collisions or photons, so it takes time for them to move through all the different orbits without any outside help. 

Differences Between Protons and Electrons

10 Differences Between Protons and Electrons

1. Electrons are smaller than protons.

2. Protons have a positive charge, while electrons have a negative charge.

3. Electrons orbit around the nucleus of an atom, whereas protons stay put in the center.

4. The mass of an electron is about 1/2000th that of a proton.

5. Protons and neutrons make up nuclei, but electrons don’t exist as part of them. 

6. Electron has more mass than a proton because it’s made up of three quarks instead of two like protons.

7. Electrons are negatively charged particles that orbit the nucleus of an atom.

8. Electrons have a 1/2000th the mass of protons.

9. The first electron was discovered by J.J Thompson in 1897.

10. Protons and electrons can be found together as part of atoms, molecules, or free radicals   6-10 (list other differences).

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Protons

1. Protons are the building blocks of all matter.

2. Protons have a mass that is 1,836 times greater than an electron.

3. There are two types of protons – positively charged and negatively charged.

4. The proton has been used as a unit of measure for the duration (in physics) and time (in biology). 

5. A single proton is made up of three smaller particles called quarks. 

6. If you place four protons close together they will repel each other because they both carry a positive charge, but if you put them far apart from one another then they will attract one another because their electric fields do not interact with each other as much. 

Interesting Statistics or Facts of Electrons

1. Electrons are negatively-charged particles.

2. Every electron has the same mass, but the electrons in an atom can have different energies.

3. The number of electrons in an element determines its chemical properties.

4. Electrons orbit around the nucleus at a distance of about 1/100th of a nanometer.

5. When two atoms bond together to form molecules, one or more electrons may be transferred from one atom to another as part of this process.

6. Electron orbits can only exist for certain values and shapes  – there is no such thing as space inside an atom because it would require that some other particles occupy that space instead (like protons) and they cannot do so since they are positively charged and repelled by any negative charge near them (the electron). This means that all energy levels must be filled with either a single electron or multiple ones paired up with each other  – if you try to put two positive charges into the same place at once, like putting two protons next to each other, then those charges will repel away from each other until they find somewhere else to go, which is why there’s never any space inside an atom; it’s always full.


Electrons are negatively charged particles, and protons are positively charged. The atomic number of an element is the total number of electrons in that particular atom or ion. Protons have a positive charge because they carry either one unit of electric charge (1e) each, while neutrons do not carry any charges at all. Similar to how electrons orbit around the nucleus of an atom, protons also orbit within the nucleus but with their opposite charge attracting them towards it instead. By understanding these basic facts about proton-electron interactions you can better understand both atoms and ions themselves as well as what causes certain elements’ physical properties.


Resource 01: https://www.newworldencyclopedia.org/entry/Stalinism
Resource 02: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron

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