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How Compounds and Molecules Are Built From Elements

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  • 0:07 Elements Have…
  • 0:41 How Elements Build…
  • 2:26 Compounds In Our…
  • 3:14 Mixtures Are Different…
  • 3:58 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Laura Nappi
Did you know that elements are like people and have different personalities? A few elements are very shy and love to be left alone. Others are very social and prefer to hang out with friends. In this lesson we will discuss how elements build molecules and compounds.

Elements Have Personalities Just Like People

Did you know that elements are like people and have different personalities? A few elements are very shy and love to be left alone. Others are extremely social and prefer to hang out with friends. Helium and neon are examples of elements that prefer to hang out alone. However, most elements, like oxygen and hydrogen, are social and prefer to hang out together. In this lesson, we will discuss how elements build molecules and compounds.

How Elements Build Molecules and Compounds

A molecule is created when two or more elements bond together.
Oxygen Elements Form Molecule

When social elements hang out together and link up, they form a molecule. A molecule is comprised of at least two atoms joined together. Like the letters that build different words, elements build different molecules. Molecules can be comprised of atoms from only one type of element or have atoms from more than one type of element.

For example, an oxygen molecule is formed from atoms from only one type of element - oxygen. An oxygen molecule is abbreviated as O2 because it includes two oxygen atoms. On the other hand, carbon monoxide, which is a poisonous gas emitted from the tailpipe of your car, is comprised of two different elements: carbon and oxygen. Since carbon monoxide consists of more than one type of element, it is considered a compound.

A compound is a type of molecule consisting of more than one type of element. Another example of a compound is water, which has two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom. You probably have seen water abbreviated as H2O. All compounds are considered molecules. However, not all molecules are considered compounds. An example of a molecule not considered a compound is hydrogen because it consists of atoms from only one type of element - hydrogen.

Compounds in Our Everyday Lives

Open your kitchen cupboards; do you see any compounds hanging out in there? If you're like me, I'm sure a bag of salty potato chips is in there somewhere. Did you know that the salt on your potato chips is actually a compound called sodium chloride? Sodium chloride is made up of two elements: sodium and chlorine. Perhaps you have a box of cookies in your cupboard as well. Next time you eat cookies, you should say to yourself, 'This sugar compound sure tastes great!' Sugar is a compound built from 12 carbon atoms, 22 hydrogen atoms, and 11 oxygen atoms.

A compound molecule is defined as two or more different elements bonding together.
Compound Molecule Example

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