Eli5. Why is there a limited amount of elements why aren’t there like infinite?


Like what’s stops them at 118?

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From what I’ve read, there’s a limit of how big an atom can be, because after a certain point it won’t be able to capture electrons. Also large atom nuclei tend to be unstable and fall apart into smaller stable atoms

Nothiong stops it.

Nature stopped at Uranium, 92 protons. That’s the heaviest thing a super nova can make.

We made everything after Uranium in labs. We’ve made up to 118 protons. It it so radioactive, it exists for like millionths (0.0000001) of a second before it decays and falls apart.

Is it predicted there is a number of protons in the mid 100s that will hit something called an island of stability where these super heavy elements may exist and be stable, but its just theorized currently.

What is keeping us at 118 right now? We need stupid levels of energy to go past. To do that we need a bigger and larger Large Hadron Collider that can push even more energy into the particle collisions.

An atom’s element is determined by how many protons it has, and you can only cram so many protons into an atomic nucleus. Protons are positively charged and repel each other, which would break up a nucleus if not for the much-stronger ‘nuclear force’ binding them together. Problem is, the range of the nuclear force is so extremely short that it has trouble reaching all the way across large nuclei. If a nucleus grows too big, a proton on one side will feel the electric repulsion from a proton on the other side, but not the attraction from the strong force, allowing the nucleus to fly apart.

The higher protons count the more unstable atom. Atom with 118 protons can exists just tibe portion of second. While theoretically it is possible to add protons indefinitely our tech does not allow to register 119 oroton atom. It is unclear if it was created at all or decayed before it existence was captured.

The nucleus of an atom contains positively charged protons and neutrally charged neutrons. They are surrounded by negatively charged electrons.

Since the nucleus only contains positively and neutrally charged particles, in order to keep the nucleus from pushing itself apart more neutrons need to be added the more protons you have.

The ratio begins breaking down when you get a big enough nucleus, requiring many neutrons for every proton added. When the nucleus is big enough the positive charge overwhelms and parts of the nucleus fly off. This is one type of nuclear fission. This brings the total number of protons down, which changes the atomic number, which is the elements definition.