ELEMENTS & COMPOUNDS
It is very important to understand the difference between the Elements and Compounds. This section will guide you through distinguishing and understanding the core differences between the two.
An element is a substance that contains only one type of atom.
Elements cannot be broken down into simpler substances; elements are the simplest substances in existence. The periodic table lists all known elements and hence all atoms in existence.
Examples of elements include copper, hydrogen, and oxygen.
Compounds are substances which contain more than one type of atom chemically joined. The particles in a compound may be molecules or ions. As opposed to mixtures, compounds must be split up chemically.
Examples of compounds you might be familiar with are water (H2O) and carbon dioxide (CO2).
Let's look at water and table salt more closely.
Water (H2O) is a compound that consists of molecules. Each water molecule contains two atoms of hydrogen (H) and one atom of oxygen (O). Water can be split by electrolysis into hydrogen and oxygen.
Table Salt (Sodium Chloride) is also a compound. Like water, it can also be split by electrolysis into sodium and chlorine molecules.