7 Difference Between Elements And Compounds With Example

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What Is An Element?

An element is a pure substance that cannot be decomposed into simpler substances by ordinary chemical processes. Although elements cannot be changed by chemical reactions, new elements may be formed by nuclear reactions.

Elements are defined by the number of protons they posses. Atoms of an element all have the same number of protons but they have different number of electrons and neutrons. Changing the ratio of electrons to protons creates ions while changing the number of neutrons form isotopes. There are nearly 118 elements at present of which nearly 94 occur naturally on Earth and the remaining 24 are synthetic elements produced in nuclear reactions.

Examples Of Elements

Any atom found in the periodic table is an example of an element and they include:

  • Copper
  • Hydrogen
  • Neon
  • Calcium
  • Magnesium
  • Sodium
  • Beryllium
  • Krypton etc

What You Need To Know About Elements

  1. Elements are made up of only one type of atom and are pure substances.
  2. Elements cannot be broken down into simpler substances by any physical or chemical method.
  3. Elements have their own fixed physical and chemical properties.
  4. Elements are classified as metals, non-metals and metalloids.
  5. Elements are represented by symbols. For example, Calcium is represented by Ca.
  6. There are nearly 118 elements at present of which nearly 94 occur naturally on Earth.
  7. Example of elements include: Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Sodium (Na), Chlorine (Cl), Calcium (Ca), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Silver (Ag), Gold (Au) etc.

What Is A Compound?

Compound is chemical substance with a unique and defined structure, which consists of a fixed ratio of atoms held together in a defined spatial arrangement by chemical bonds. A molecule consisting of atoms of only one element is therefore not a compound. A compound can be converted to different chemical composition by interaction with a second chemical compound via a chemical reaction. In this process, bonds between atoms are broken in both of the interacting compounds and new bonds formed.

Two or more elements that are held together by a chemical bond result in a compound. For example water (H2O) is a compound consisting of two hydrogen atoms bonded to an oxygen atom. Another example is the combination of elements sodium and chlorine results in the formation of sodium chloride (table salt).

There are four types of compounds, depending on how the constituent atoms are held together:

  • Molecules held together by covalent bonds
  • Ionic compounds held together by metallic bonds
  • Certain complexes held together by coordinate covalent bonds
  • Intermetallic compounds held together by metallic bonds

Examples of some commonly used compounds include:

  • Alcohol (C2H6O)
  • Acetic Acid (C2H4O2)
  • Sulphuric Acid (H2SO4)
  • Methane (CH4)
  • Nitrous Oxide (N2O)
  • Sodium Chloride (NaCl)
  • Potassium Iodide (KI)

What You Need To Know About Compound

  1. A compound is made up of two or more types of atoms combined in a fixed proportion and held together by covalent or ionic bonds.
  2. Compounds can be broken down into simpler substances by chemical reactions.
  3. Physical and chemical properties of a compound are different from those of its constituent elements.
  4. Compounds are classified according to their bonding structure and thus they can be ionic, covalent, molecular, coordinate or metallic.
  5. Compounds are represented by their chemical formula that represents the symbols of its constituent elements and the number of atoms of each element in one molecule of the compound. For example, Calcium chloride is represented by the formula CaCl2.
  6. A limitless number of chemical compounds can be created.
  7. Example of compounds include: Water (H2O), Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Sodium bi-carbonate (NaHCO3), Ammonium Chloride ( NH4Cl) etc.

Also Read: Difference Between Compound And Molecule

Difference Between Elements And Compounds In Tabular Form

BASIS OF COMPARISON ELEMENT COMPOUND
Description Elements are made up of only one type of atom and are pure substances.   A compound is made up of two or more types of atoms combined in a fixed proportion and held together by covalent or ionic bonds.  
Breakdown Into Simpler Substances Elements cannot be broken down into simpler substances by any physical or chemical method.   Compounds can be broken down into simpler substances by chemical reactions.  
Physical & Chemical Properties Elements have their own fixed physical and chemical properties.   Physical and chemical properties of a compound are different from those of its constituent elements.  
Classification Elements are classified as metals, non-metals and metalloids.   Compounds are classified according to their bonding structure and thus they can be ionic, covalent, molecular, coordinate or metallic.  
Representation Elements are represented by symbols. Compounds are represented by their chemical formula that represents the symbols of its constituent elements and the number of atoms of each element in one molecule of the compound.  
Occurrence There are nearly 118 elements at present of which nearly 94 occur naturally on Earth.   A limitless number of chemical compounds can be created.  
Examples Hydrogen (H), Oxygen (O), Sodium (Na), Chlorine (Cl), Calcium (Ca), Copper (Cu), Iron (Fe), Silver (Ag), Gold (Au) etc.  Water (H2O), Calcium Chloride (CaCl2), Sodium Chloride (NaCl), Sodium bi-carbonate (NaHCO3), Ammonium Chloride (NH4Cl) etc.  

Also Read: Difference Between Aromatic And Aliphatic Compounds