Q:

What is the relationship between atoms, elements and compounds?

A:

A compound can be separated into the individual elements that it is comprised of and an element can separated as far as its individual atoms. An atom represents the smallest possible part of an element that still retains the properties of that element. The sub-atomic particles that represent the individual components of an atom no longer possess the same properties as the element from which they came.

Compounds are substances that are created when two or more elements are chemically joined. The atoms of those elements attach to each other by chemical bonds. When elements bond in this manner to form compounds, they lose their individual properties and take on the new properties of the compound that their bonding creates.

The three primary sub-atomic particles that comprise the individual atoms of an element are protons, neutrons and electrons. The electrons orbit a nucleus in which the neutrons and protons are compacted into a mass that represents more than 99.94 percent of the atom's mass. The number of electrons and electron orbits play a major role in how atoms bond with other atoms. The most significant role in chemical bonding belongs to the electrons orbiting in the atom's outermost layer, or shell. These are called the valence electrons and their number determines how the atom will interact with other atoms. The tendency of an atom is to fill or empty its valence shell and it will react with another atom in a manner that depends upon that other atom's specific valence shell configuration.

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Related Questions

  • Q:

    What do all atoms of the same element have in common?

    A:

    All atoms of the same element have the same number of protons in the nucleus and consequently have the same atomic number. All atoms of the same neutral element have the same number of electrons as well.

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  • Q:

    Are all atoms of the same element identical?

    A:

    No, not all atoms of the same element are identical. Contrary to Dalton’s theory — that atoms of the same element are identical — scientists discovered that atoms comprise smaller sub-atomic particles. Further experiments revealed fundamental particles beyond neutrons, protons and electrons. Although an atom is the tiniest particle of an element that retains the element’s intrinsic properties, all 92 stable atoms are composed of only three smaller, more fundamental particles.

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  • Q:

    What is the compound C12H22O11?

    A:

    According to ChemSpider.com, compound C12H22O11 is sucrose, also known as table sugar. Sugar is a sweetener used in numerous culinary applications. It is generally derived from either sugar beet or sugar cane.

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  • Q:

    What is the compound Fe3O4?

    A:

    Fe3O4 is actually a combination of two separate compounds, Fe2O3 and FeO. Fe203 is more commonly known as ferric oxide, and FeO is otherwise known as ferrous oxide. Fe3O4 is also known as magnetite or lodestone in mineral form.

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