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what is a compound

1) In chemistry, a compound is a substance that results from a combination of two or more different chemical element s, in such a way that the atom s of the different elements are held together by chemical bonds that are difficult to break. These bonds form as a result of the sharing or exchange of electron s among the atoms. The smallest unbreakable unit of a compound is called a molecule .

A compound differs from a mixture, in which bonding among the atoms of the constituent substances does not occur. In some situations, different elements react with each other when they are mixed, forming bonds among the atoms and thereby producing molecules of a compound. In other scenarios, different elements can be mixed and no reaction occurs, so the elements retain their individual identities. Sometimes, when elements are mixed, the reaction occurs slowly (as when iron is exposed to oxygen); in other cases it takes place rapidly (as when lithium is exposed to oxygen). Sometimes, when an element is exposed to a compound, a reaction occurs in which new compounds are formed (as when pure elemental sodium is immersed in liquid water).

Often, a compound looks and behaves nothing like any of the elements that comprise it. Consider, for example, hydrogen (H) and oxygen (O). Both of these elements are gases at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure. But when they combine into the familiar compound known as water, each molecule of which contains two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H 2 O), the resulting substance is a liquid at room temperature and normal atmospheric pressure.

The atoms of a few elements do not readily bond with other elements to form compounds. These are called noble or inert gases: helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon. Certain elements readily combine with other elements to form compounds. Examples are oxygen, chlorine, and fluorine.

2) As an adjective, compound is the quality of being composed of multiple parts. Examples of this usage include compound eye (found in various insects), compound microscope (a high-power magnifying instrument consisting of more than one lens), compound sentence (a sentence that is a conjunction or disjunction of smaller sentences), and compound document , an organized collection of user interfaces that form a single integrated perceptual environment.

Element Definition:

Elements – Elements constitute the simplest chemical substances in which all the atoms are exactly the same.

Compound Definition:

Compounds – Compounds are chemical substances made up of two or more elements that are chemically bound together in a fixed ratio.

Chemistry is the study of the structures, physical properties, and chemical properties of material substances. It is very important to understand that all gases, liquids and solids are not the same. All are different in terms of their composition. This is the reason why the classification of the matter is very important.

Classification of Matter

  1. Elements
  2. Compounds
  3. Mixtures

Here we are going to discuss two categories of the matter: Elements and Compounds

Elements And Compounds

What is a Compound?

When two or more elements chemically combine in a fixed ratio by mass, the obtained product is known as a compound. Compounds can be defined as substances consisting of 2 or more different types of elements in a fixed ratio of their atoms. When the elements combine, some individual property of the elements is lost and the newly formed compound has new properties.

Chemical Formula: Compounds are represented by their chemical formula. A chemical formula is a symbolic representation of the proportions of atoms that constitute a particular chemical compound.

The chemical formula of water is H2O which shows two atoms of hydrogen and one atom of oxygen have combined to form one molecule of H2O. The chemical formula for common salt is NaCl which shows one atom of sodium and one atom of chlorine combine to form one molecule of NaCl.

1. Types Of Compounds

Compounds can be classified into two types, molecular compounds and salts. In molecular compounds, the atom binds each other through covalent bonds. In salts, it is held together with ionic bonds. These are the two types of bonds out of which every compound is made of.

2. Example Of Compounds

  • Example of compounds includes water (H2O), Hydrogen Peroxide (H2O2), etc. You could see water’s chemical formula, it says it has 2 atoms of Hydrogen combined with 1 atom of oxygen and in hydrogen peroxide, it has 2 atoms of hydrogen and two atoms of oxygen.
  • Similarly,  an example of salt would be the table salt (NaCl) which has 1 atom of sodium and one atom of chlorine.

Examples of some commonly used compounds and their molecular formula:

Compound NameCompound Formula
AlcoholC2H6O
Acetic AcidC2H4O2
Sulphuric AcidH2SO4
AmmoniaNH3
MethaneCH4
Nitrous oxideN2O
SaltNaCl

What are the Elements?

We can define elements as a species of atoms that have the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei. Although an element’s atoms have the same number of protons, they can have different numbers of neutrons and hence different masses.

Isotopes: When atoms of the same element have different numbers of neutrons, they are known as isotopes. As of now, there are 118 elements, of which the first 94 are naturally occurring while the remaining 24 are synthetic elements.

Elements are complete chemical substances which relate to a single entry in the modern periodic table. Elements consist of one kind of atom only. They cannot be broken down into simpler fragments and can exist as atoms or as molecules. Elements are represented by symbols that are assigned by IUPAC. For example, Oxygen is represented by O, Aluminium is represented by Al, etc.

1. Types of Elements

The elements are arranged in the periodic table and are split depending upon their groups as either metallic or non-metallic. Metallic is further classified into Main Group Metals, Transition Metals, and f-block metals. These are again further divided, depending upon their properties.

2. Examples of Elements

Elements exist in their simplest form and cannot be broken down further. So, elements can exist in the form of ions, atoms, isotopes, molecules.

  • An example of an element is Nitrogen atom(N), Nitrogen gas (N2), Nitrogen ion(N3) and Nitrogen isotopes (Nitrogen-13, Nitrogen-14, and Nitrogen-15).

Similarly, you could see other elements’ existence.

Examples of some commonly used elements along with their chemical symbols:

Name of the elementChemical symbol
Hydrogen(H)
Boron(B)
Carbon(C)
Silicon(Si)
Sodium(Na)
Lead(Pb)
Platinum(Pt)

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

What does compound mean?

A compound is a material formed by chemically bonding two or more chemical elements. The type of bond keeping elements in a compound together may vary: covalent bonds and ionic bonds are two common types. The elements are always present in fixed ratios in any compound.

What is an example of a compound?

A compound is a material composed of two or more components. Water, carbon dioxide and table salt are some examples of compounds.

What is the classification of compounds?

There are two basic groups of compounds. We are characterized by the way the atoms in the compound bind to each other. Such two types are called “molecular” and “salt” compounds.

What is the meaning of the term element?

A material that can not be separated by chemical means into simpler substances. Each element consists of atoms with the same atomic number, that is, each atom has in its nucleus the same number of protons as all other atoms of that element.

Is pure substance an element?

A component is a single material that can not be divided into various types of substances. Carbon, oxygen, hydrogen, gold, silver and iron are examples of elements. Every element consists of just one atom form.

What is the difference between an element a compound and a mixture?

A material that only consists of one form of atom. Compound: A material which consists of more than one form of bonded atom. Mixture: a blend of two or more unbounded components or compounds; each component of the mixture preserves its own properties.

What are the two classifications of mixtures?

Two major groups can be divided into mixtures: homogeneous and heterogeneous. A homogeneous mixture is one in which the entire composition of its elements is combined evenly.

What is an atom element compound and mixture?

The same number of protons and electrons would be found in a single atom and most atoms contain at least as many neutrons as protons. An element is a material completely formed from one form of atom. A composite is a material consisting of chemically connected two or more separate elements.

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