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Difference between Element and Compound

Difference between Element and Compound

Element vs. Compound

What is Difference between Element and Compound? Elements and compounds are pure chemicals found in nature, however, there are several differences between the two and the other; distinctive qualities that should not be ignored in order to avoid confusion when subjects of chemistry or biology are concerned, where these two terms are often used quite frequently.

Difference between Element and Compound

If you have doubts about what the difference between elements and compounds, continue reading, because then we explain that and incidentally we offer other small information related to the topic.


The elements are substances that are characterized by being made of the same type of atoms. He has even created The Periodic Table of the Elements to enlist those that have so far been discovered or exist on Earth.

Some examples of elements include: iron, carbon, oxygen and hydrogen. In the Periodic Table they appear according to their Atomic Number and of the 117 known so far, 94 are natural and 22 are artificially produced.

Among themselves, the elements are distinguished by their names, symbols, atomic numbers, densities, among other things. The atomic number is represented by the letter Z and indicates the amount of protons found in the nucleus of each element. For example, Carbon, Z = 6.

There is also the Atomic Mass, which is represented by the letter A and indicates the total number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom of an element. The isotopes of the same element differ in their atomic masses.


On the other hand, as its name implies, the compounds are formed by different elements that are present in different proportions in the substance. Some of the best known examples are water H2O and sodium chloride or NaCl.

Also, the elements that form a compound are in fixed proportions; for example, a sodium atom (Na) and a chlorine atom (Cl) will always result in a salt molecule. Most compounds can exist as solids when the temperature is low enough and decompose if heat is applied to them.

Sometimes, particular elements are trapped in the crystalline structure of some compounds causing it to be non-homogeneous. Finally, the compounds are identified by their chemical formulas. Before 1800 the compound term was also used as a synonym for “blend”.

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