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What Is a Chemical Element? Properties and Definition

What is a chemical element? Properties and definition

A chemical element is a pure substance with certain physical and chemical properties. The atomic nucleus of each element consists of protons and neutrons. The number of protons in the nucleus of an atom - atomic number - is unique for each chemical element.

Sometimes, some authors refer to a chemical species to refer to a certain atom. However, this term is also used to refer to other substances such as molecules, ions, etc.

Each chemical element has its Latin name and the chemical symbol consisting of one or two letters. The names and symbols of the elements are regulated by the IUPAC and are reflected in Mendeleev's periodic table of elements.

The form of existence of chemical elements in free form are simple substances. It is necessary to distinguish between chemical elements (abstract objects described through their characteristics) and the corresponding material objects: simple chemical compounds (with certain physical and chemical properties).

A particular group of elements are the noble gases. Noble gases are a group of chemical elements with very similar properties: they are odorless, colorless monatomic gases and have very low chemical reactivity.

Chemical elements can combine with each other to form another defined chemical composition through chemical reactions. For example, the element oxygen and hydrogen can combine to form water.

How Many Are the Chemical Elements?

118 chemical elements are known, of which 94 are found in nature (some are only found in small quantities). The remaining 24 are obtained artificially as a result of nuclear reactions.

Man-made chemical elements have a higher atomic number than uranium. Its synthesis was initially carried out by the repeated capture of neutrons by uranium nuclei under conditions of intense neutron flux in nuclear reactors.

Uranium isotopes are used to make nuclear fuel. They have a very unstable nature that makes them suitable for the nuclear energy industry.

What Does the Name of the Elements Depend On?

The right to propose a name for a new chemical element is granted to the discoverers. However, this name must adhere to certain rules. Publishing a new discovery is verified within a few years by independent laboratories. If the existence of the element is confirmed, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry officially approves the name of the new element.

The 118 elements known as of December 2016 have permanent names approved by IUPAC. From the time of the opening request to the approval of the IUPAC name, the item appears under a temporary systematic name.

Unopened or unapproved elements are often named using the system used by Mendeleev, that is, by the name of the higher homolog in the periodic table. In this case, the prefixes "ek-" or (rarely) "dvi-" are added, which means Sanskrit numbers "one" and "two" depending on whether the homolog is 1 or 2 periods higher.

What Are the Chemical Elements?

Chemical elements are classified on the periodic table of elements.

What are the chemical elements? periodic table of elements

Known chemical elements are as follows:

Chemical elementSymbolAtomic number (Z)Atomic weight (u)
HydrogenH11.0079
HelioHe24.0026
LithiumLi36941
BerylliumBe49.0122
BoroB510811
CarbonC612.0107
NitrogenN714.0067
OxygenO815.9994
FluorineF918.9984
NeonNe1020.1797
SodiumNa1122.9897
MagnesiumMg1224305
AluminumAl1326.9815
SiliconSi1428.0855
MatchP1530.9738
SulfurS1632065
ChlorineCl1735453
ArgonAr1839948
PotassiumK1939.0983
FootballCa2040078
ScandiumSc2144,9559
TitaniumTi2247867
VanadiumV2350.9415
ChromeCr2451,9961
ManganeseMn2554938
IronFe2655845
CobaltCo2758,9332
NickelNi2858.6934
CopperCu2963546
ZincZn3065.39
GalliumGa3169723
GermanyGe3272.64
ArsenicAs3374.9216
SeleniumSe3478.96
BromoBr3579904
KryptonKr3683.8
RubidioRb3785.4678
StrontiumSr3887.62
YttriumY3988,9059
ZirconiumZr4091224
NiobiumNb4192,9064
MolybdenumMo4295.94
TechnetiumTc4398
RutenioRu44101.07
RodioRh45102,9055
PalladiumPd46106.42
The paymentAg47107,8682
CadmiumCd48112411
IndianIn49114818
TinSn50118.71
AntimonySb51121.76
TeluroTe52127.6
IodineI53126.9045
XenonXe54131293
CesiumCs55132.9055
BariumBa56137327
LantanoLa57138.9055
CeriumCe58140116
PraseodimioPr59140.9077
NeodymiumNd60144.24
PrometheusPm61145
SamariaSm62150.36
EuropeEu63151964
GadoliniumGd64157.25
TerbioTb65158,9253
DisprosioDy66162.5
HolmioHo67164,9303
ErbioEr68167259
ThuliumTm69168.9342
IterbioYb70173.04
LutecioLu71174967
ShapingHf72178.49
TantalumTa73180,9479
TungstenW74183.84
RenioRe75186207
OsmioOs76190.23
IridiumIr77192217
PlatinumPt78195078
OroAu79196.9665
MercuryHg80200.59
ThalliumTl81204.3833
LeadPb82207.2
BismuthBi83208,9804
PoloniumPo84209
AstatoAt85210
RadonRn86222
FranceFr87223
RadioRa88226
ActinioAc89227
ThoriumTh90232.0381
ProtactinioPa91231.0359
UraniumU92238.0289
NeptuneNp93237
PlutoniumPu94244
AmericioAm95243
CurioCm96247
BerkelioBk97247
CalifornioCf98251
EinstenioEs99252
FermioFm100257
MendelevioMd101258
NobelNo102259
LaurencioLr103262
RutherfordioRf104261
DubnioDb105262
SeaborgioSg106266
BohrioBh107264
HassioHs108277
MeitnerioMt109268
DarmstadtioDs110281
RoentgenioRg111272
CopernicusCn112285
NihonioNh113286
FlerovioFl114289
MoscowMc115288
LivermorioLv116292
TenesoTs117294
OganesónOg118294

 

How Is a Chemical Element Presented?

Chemical element symbols are used as abbreviations for the name of the elements. As a symbol, they usually take the initial letter of the item's name and, if necessary, add the next or one of the following. These are usually the initial letters of the Latin names of the elements.

representation of a chemical element uraniumSuch a system of chemical symbols was proposed in 1814 by the Swedish chemist J. Berzelius. The elements used before the official approval of their names and permanent symbols consist of three letters, which means that the Latin names of the three digits in the decimal notation of their atomic number. The notation system for higher homologues described above (Eka-Rn, Eka-Pb, etc.) is also used.

The smaller numbers next to the element symbol indicate:

  • The atomic mass in the upper left.

  • Atomic number in the lower left.

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Published: February 12, 2020
Last review: August 29, 2021