What did Rutherford conclude from his gold foil experiment?


Gold foil experiment

Rutherford conducted the Gold foil experiment in 1911 and was able to definitively establish the existence of an atom and the position of the protons present in the atom. He also suggested that electrons have a position and behave in a certain way. They used fast-moving alpha particles to bombard fragile gold foil sheets. Alpha particles are positively charged particles with a mass four times that of a hydrogen atom. They are a type of natural radioactive particle.

While the vast majority of alpha particles were undeflected, a small percentage which is roughly 1 in 8000 particles bounced off the gold foil at extensive angles. Some were even redirected back toward the source.

Conclusion of Gold foil experiment

The conclusion of the gold foil experiment are,

  • In an atom, the nucleus is the positively charged centre. The nucleus contains almost all of a mass of the atom.
  • Electrons follow circular paths around the nucleus.
  • In comparison to the size of the atom, the nucleus is very small.

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