Element vs Compound – Difference and Comparison

What is Element?

An element is a chemical substance composed of single types of atoms. Each atom has the same atomic number, i.e., the same number of protons in its nucleus.

For example, consider an element- oxygen (O2). Oxygen is formed by two oxygen (O) atoms of the same kind. These atoms have the same atomic number, atomic mass number & chemical and physical properties.

To date, there are about 118 elements have been identified. Or some elements were discovered in nature or were artificially synthesized in the laboratory. These elements are arranged in the periodic table according to their properties.

Depending on its chemical and physical properties, an element can also be classified as metal, nonmetal, or metalloid. Various metals include aluminium, copper, iron, zinc, etc. Nonmetals are often found in a gaseous state and include chlorine, nitrogen, bromine, etc. Metalloids are another group of elements with metals and nonmetals properties. For example, arsenic and boron are metalloids.

What is a Compound?

A compound is a chemical material that is composed of two or more types of atom. Thus, it is a combination of more than one kind of element. Compounds possess different elements in a fixed ratio arranged in a definite manner through various chemical bonds. Thus, they contain only one type of molecule.

The elements are bonded with various types of bonds and interactions. Generally, ionic bonds or covalent bonds are present in a compound. Other bonds include hydrogen bonds, etc.

For a compound to be formed, the elements must combine in a fixed proposal. For example, consider the compound Sodium chloride, also known as regular salt. Its chemical formula is NaCl. It represents that a single atom of sodium and one of chlorine is present in a sodium chloride molecule.

Difference Between Element and Compound

An element is a chemical substance composed of the same type of atom. Two distinct elements form a bond between their atoms and are combined into a chemical compound.

A compound is denoted by its chemical formula. This formula represents the symbols of the elements that form the compound and the number of atoms of each element in one compound molecule.

Elements cannot be destroyed further into simpler substances by any physical or chemical methods. A compound can be destroyed into simpler substances by physical or chemical methods/reactions.

Depending on their properties, elements can be classified as metals, nonmetals, and metalloids. Compounds are classified as ionic compounds, covalent compounds, etc.

To date,118 elements have been discovered, out of which 94 naturally occur on Earth. On the other hand, an infinite number of compounds can be formed. There is no fixed number.

Comparison Between Element and Compound

Parameters of ComparisonElementCompound
DefinitionAn element is a chemical substance composed of the same type of atom.A compound is a chemical material of more than one type of atom.
RepresentationAn element is represented using symbolsA compound is denoted by its chemical formula.
Ability to be broken downElements cannot be broken down into simpler substances by any physical or chemical means.A compound can be destroyed into simpler substances by physical or chemical methods/reactions.
ClassificationElements can be classified as metals, nonmetals, and metalloids.Compounds are classified as ionic compounds, covalent compounds, etc.
NumberUntil now, 118 elements have been discovered out of which 94 are naturally occurring on Earth.There is an infinite number of compounds that can be formed. There is no absolute number.

References

  1. https://www.journals.uchicago.edu/doi/abs/10.1086/518745
  2. https://pubs.acs.org/doi/pdf/10.1021/cr60161a003