Electron, Proton vs Neutron: Difference and Comparison

Atoms make up all matter, including mineral crystals. While electrons, protons, and neutrons make up all atoms.

The Atomic Theory of Dalton clarified a great deal about matter, chemical reactions, and chemistry. Nonetheless, it was not true because atoms can be broken down into smaller subatomic particles and subunits, contrary to Dalton’s belief.

Key Takeaways

  1. Electrons are negatively charged subatomic particles found in the electron cloud around the nucleus of an atom, whereas protons are positively charged particles found in the nucleus.
  2. Neutrons are uncharged particles also found in the nucleus of an atom, along with protons.
  3. Protons and neutrons have a similar mass, while electrons have a much smaller mass than either protons or neutrons.

Electron vs Proton vs Neutron

The difference between electrons, protons, and neutron is the charge they carry. Electrons are charged negatively, protons are charged negatively, and neutrons do not carry any charge. Rather they are neutral. Protons, electrons, and neutrons are the subatomic particles that comprise atoms.

Electron vs Proton vs Neutron

The electron has a negative charge. The symbol for electrons is (e–). An electron’s atomic mass unit is (5.45×10–4). The orbits of electrons are located outside the nucleus of the atoms.

When the comparison is made, the weight of the electron has no bearing. Electrons have a role in nuclear processes as well as chemical reactions.

A proton has a positive charge. (p+) is the symbol for protons. The proton’s atomic mass unit is 1. Protons are found within the nucleus of atoms. A proton has a mass of (1.672×10–27 kg). Protons are only engaged in processes that take place inside the nucleus.

A neutron is either neutrally charged or uncharged. The symbol for neutrons is (n⁰). The neutron’s atomic mass unit is one. Neutrons are also found inside the nucleus, except hydrogen. Neutrons have a somewhat higher mass than protons. Neutrons are only involved in nuclear reactions.

Comparison Table

Parameters of ComparisonElectronProtonNeutron
Charge NegativePositiveNeutral
Symbolised as e–p+n⁰
Atomic mass5.45×10^–411

Outside the boundary of the nucleus. Inside the nucleus of the atoms. Inside the nucleus, exception- hydrogen.
WeightNot significant. 1.672×10^–27 kgMore than protons.
Reactions involvedBoth nuclear reactions and chemical reactions. Nuclear reactions Nuclear reactions

What is Electron?

Electrons are made up of simpler and smaller particles. They’re called leptons, and they’re a kind of particle that is fundamental. The charge of electrons is 1, which is equivalent to that of a proton but negative in characteristic.

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Electrons are very minuscule particles. The electron is so light, and its weight is so insignificant that it is about 0.5×10^–3 weight of a neutron and proton.

They are considered negligible when the overall mass is calculated. Atoms constitute an equal number of their positive charge and neutrally charged particles, which contribute to the overall weight.

Negatively charged electrons are found in the universe. (e–) represents electrons. An electron has a mass of (5.45×10–4) atomic mass unit. In orbits, electrons are found outside the nucleus of atoms.

When making a comparison, the weight of an electron has no bearing. In both nuclear and chemical reactions, electrons play a role.


What is Proton?

Proton, along with neutrons, is located inside the nucleus and hence are called nucleons. They both together contribute to the mass of the atom.

The nucleus of an atom contains protons. (1.672×10–27 kg) is the mass of a proton. Only the processes that take place within the nucleus involve protons.

It is one of the three primary particles which make up an atom. Protons are present in the atom’s nucleus. This is a small, dense region in the atom’s core. Protons possess one charge that is positive and also possess a mass of one atomic mass unit (AMU).

They account for nearly all of an atom’s mass when combined with neutrons. The positive charge signifies a proton. (p+) stands for protons. 1 is the proton’s atomic mass unit.

proton 1

What is Neutron?

All atoms, except most hydrogen atoms, have neutrons in their nucleus. Neutrons have no charge and are electrically neutral, unlike protons and electrons, which are electrically charged.

The neutrons in the diagram above are called n0 for this reason. “Zero charges” is represented by zero. The letter (n⁰) stands for neutrons.

One is the neutron’s atomic mass unit. The nucleus also contains neutrons, except hydrogen. Neutrons have a little advantage over protons in terms of mass. Only nuclear processes involve neutrons. The charge of a neutron is either neutral or zero.


Main Differences Between Electron, Proton and Neutron

  1. The electron is charged negatively. However, a Proton is charged positively. On the other hand, a neutron is charged neutral or has no charge.
  2. Electrons are symbolized as (e–). However, Protons are symbolized as (p+). On the other hand, Neutrons are symbolized as (n⁰).
  3. The atomic mass unit of an electron is (5.45×10^–4). However, the atomic mass unit of the proton is 1. On the other hand, the atomic mass unit of the neutron is one.
  4. Electrons are located outside the boundary of the nucleus of the atoms in orbits. However, protons are situated inside the nucleus of the atoms. On the other hand, neutrons are situated inside the nucleus as well, hydrogen being an exception.
  5. The electron’s weight is not significant when the comparison is made. However, the weight of a proton is (1.672×10^–27 kg). On the other hand, the weight of the neutrons is a bit higher than protons.
  6. Electrons are involved in both nuclear reactions and chemical reactions, both. However, protons are involved in the reactions occurring inside the nucleus only. On the other hand, neutrons take part in nuclear reactions only.
  1. https://www.nature.com/articles/184892a0
  2. https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/abstract/document/9050475/
  3. https://journals.aps.org/pr/abstract/10.1103/PhysRev.129.2566
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Last Updated : 31 July, 2023

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  20. The subatomic particles that make up atoms are the electrons, protons, and neutrons. These particles have different charges and are found in different locations within the atom.

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    • Dalton’s Atomic Theory was groundbreaking at the time, but further research has shown that atoms can indeed be broken down into smaller subatomic particles.


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