Lesson 13, Topic 3
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Atomic Models

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An overview of the most significant developments in the model of the atom.

Limitations of Rutherford & Bohr’s Models


  • No explanation for why electrons remain in orbit around the nucleus
  • Electrons have a definite, circular orbit
  • Did not explain how protons were held together in the nucleus without repelling each other due to their positive charge
  • Made no attempt to explain spectral lines


  • Model only works for hydrogen
  • Moving electrons should emit electromagnetic radiation (according to Maxwell), hence should also emit energy and collapse into the nucleus
  • Violates the Heisenberg Uncertainty Principle, as electrons have both known radius and orbit