When most people hear the words “element” and “atom,” they likely think of chemistry class. However, these two words have meanings that go far beyond the classroom. In fact, the difference between elements and atoms is key to understanding the structure of matter. Let’s take a closer look at what these terms mean and how they differ from each other.
What is Element?
Element is a chemical substances which cannot be divided into simpler parts by chemical means. It can be found on the periodic table of elements. The physical and chemical properties of an element depends on the number of protons in its nucleus. Element with different number of protons are called isotopes. There are 118 known element as of today. Element were firstly discovered by alchemists during medieval ages but they misunderstood it as a pure substance which cannot be decomposed further. Element gain their name according to their properties or from famous scientists. For example, chlorine was named from a greenish-yellow gas with a pungent smell,’shallon’. Gold was named from Old English word for the color ‘gold’ and silver was named for its luster. In past few decades, new elements were added to the periodic table as well. They were created in laboratory by bombarding smaller atoms with high energy particles such as protons or neutrons resulting in larger atoms. The newly created element is neutron-rich and is extremely unstable. It decays very quickly into another element orgasms through alpha, beta or gamma decay resulting in a more stable form of nuclei. The discovery of these new elements help us understand the structure and behavior of
What is Atom?
Atom is the basic unit of matter and the defining structure of elements. The term “atom” comes from the Greek word for indivisible, because it was once thought that atoms were the smallest things in the universe and could not be divided. The structure of an atom is a central nucleus composed of protons and neutrons with electrons orbiting around this nucleus. The number of protons in an element’s nucleus determines which element it is. For example, all atoms with six protons in their nucleus are carbon atoms. Atom are extremely small; it would take about fifty million hydrogen atoms lined up side by side to equal the width of a human hair. Although atoms are very small, they are incredibly important because they make up everything in the universe.
Difference between Elements and Atoms
Elements are the basic building blocks of matter and everything in the universe is made up of them. Elements are identified by their atomic number, which is the number of protons in the nucleus. Each element has its own unique atomic structure and chemical properties. Atoms are the smallest particle of an element that has the chemical properties of that element. All atoms of an element have the same number of protons in their nucleus. One way to remember the difference between elements and atoms is that elements are like people and atoms are like Legos. People are different from each other and have different personalities, just like each element has its own atomic structure and chemical properties. But people are made up of Legos, just like atoms are the building blocks of elements. So while all atoms have the same number of protons, they can be arranged in different ways to create different elements.
Atoms are the building blocks of elements, and each atom has a nucleus that contains protons and neutrons. Around the nucleus, electrons orbit in shells. The number of protons in an atom’s nucleus determines what element it is. For example, hydrogen has one proton in its nucleus and is therefore the simplest element. Helium has two protons and is thus more complex. There are over 100 different naturally occurring elements on Earth, but scientists have been able to create new ones by smashing atoms together in a particle accelerator.