A chemical symbol represents what of an element?

2 Answers
Jul 12, 2017

An element's symbol is merely a shorthand representation of the element.

It would be painstaking to have to write out the name of the element every time you wanted to mention it, so the symbols are a great way to shortly represent the element!

#11# elements have symbols derived from Latin:

  • Sodium - #"Na"# ("natrium")

  • Potassium - #"K"# ("kalium")

  • Iron - #"Fe"# ("ferrum")

  • Copper - #"Cu"# ("cuprum")

  • Silver - #"Ag"# ("argentum")

  • Tin - #"Sn"# ("stannum")

  • Antimony - #"Sb"# ("stibium")

  • Tungsten - #"W"# ("wolfram")

  • Gold - #"Au"# ("aurum")

  • Mercury - #"Hg"# ("hydrargyrum")

  • Lead - #"Pb"# ("plumbum")

Jul 12, 2017

Answer:

If no numbers are present, it represents a single atom of an element.

Explanation:

A chemical symbol represents a single atom of an element:

  • #H# a single hydrogen atom

  • #C# a single carbon atom.

If there are numbers on the left side, then the number of atoms increase, but they are separate atoms:

  • #3H# 3 atoms of hydrogen

  • #10K# ten atoms of potassium

If the number appears on the right side with a subscript, then the whole symbol represents a single molecule with as many atoms as the number says:

  • #H_2# a two atom particle of hydrogen

  • #O_3# a three atom particle of oxygene (also known as ozone)

If the symbol is in the form of #aX_b# then it represents #a# particles each formed of #b# atoms:

  • #4O_2# four two atom particles of oxgen

  • #6N_2# six two atom particles of nitrogen