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Rutherford’s Atomic Model

After α-particles scattering experiment, following conclusions were made by Rutherford in regard to atomic structure:
Fig. 4
  • Most of the mass (at least 99.95%) and all of the charge of an atom concentrated in a very small region called atomic nucleus.
  • Nucleus is positively charged and its size is of the order of 10–15 m ≈ 1 Fermi. The nucleus occupies only about 10–12 of the total volume of the atom or less.
  • In an atom there is maximum empty space and the electrons revolve around the nucleus in the same way as the planets revolve around the sun.

Failure of Rutherford’s Model

Stability of atom It could not explain stability of atom because according to classical electrodynamics theory, an accelerated charged particle should continuously radiate energy. Thus, an electron moving in as circular path around the nucleus should also radiate energy and thus move into smaller and smaller orbits of gradually decreasing radius and it should ultimately fall into nucleus.
Fig. 5 Instability of atom
  • According to this model, the spectrum of atom must be continuous where as practically it is a line spectrum.
  • It did not explain the distribution of electrons outside the nucleus.

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