Whats the difference between an element, molecule, atom and compound?

1 Answer
Jan 30, 2018

Atoms and molecules are objects . A compound isn't an material object, but a kind of substance. An element is a type of sub-component in a compound not associated with a specific kind of substance.


Atoms are very small, invisible objects having a tendency to aggregate among themselves to form "clusters". These clusters, or stable groups of atoms, have been named molecules.

There are around one hundred of different types of atoms. Each type of atom is called "element". The known elements are ordinately listed in the Periodic table of the Elements.

Substances are made of elements. Compounds, or "compound substances", are made of different elements (types of atoms). Elementary substances are made of a single element (one type of atoms).

The term "element" is often used to identify a substance that is made from that element only, but that is misleading because the same element is found to participate in the composition of many different substances, both compound and elementary substances.

Actually, an "element" is not associated with a specific kind of substance.

Ont the other hand, a compound, is a certain kind of substance, constituted by a regular combination of different elements.