What Is a Chemical Compound? - Definition & Examples

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  • 0:01 Chemical Compounds Defined
  • 0:30 Types of Chemical Compounds
  • 0:58 Examples of Chemical Compounds
  • 2:16 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Derrick Arrington

Derrick has taught biology and chemistry at both the high school and college level. He has a master's degree in science education.

Very few single chemical elements are encountered in everyday life. In this lesson, you will learn about chemical compounds through some examples to gain a better understanding of what they are and how they form.

Chemical Compounds Defined

The purest elements and chemicals can be found on the periodic table, and the majority of those listed can be found in nature. However, most of the things we encounter and use on a daily basis are actually chemical compounds. A chemical compound is a chemical combination of two or more elements that can normally be broken down into simpler substances by chemical means and have properties different from those of its component elements.

Types of Chemical Compounds

Chemical compounds are formed by elements that bond together. These bonds are typically covalent, ionic, or metallic bonds.

Ionic bonds are formed when two or more atoms of an element are joined together when one of the elements gains or loses electrons. Covalent bonds are chemical bonds that form when two or more atoms of an element share electrons. Metallic bonds are formed when metallic ions are attracted to the electrons of another element.

Examples of Chemical Compounds

Chemical compounds can be found in nature as well as in products we find in our homes. Have you ever seen a rusty metal object that has been left outside? When iron is exposed to the atmosphere for a period of time, it begins to rust. The material that we commonly refer to as rust is actually the chemical compound iron oxide. Iron oxide is formed when the iron in an object reacts with the oxygen in the atmosphere and forms ionic bonds that result in a chemical compound.

You probably have a container of salt in your kitchen. Salt is a very important chemical compound. It is required by our bodies to regulate electrolytes. Common table salt is sodium chloride and is formed when sodium atoms and chlorine atoms are joined together with an ionic bond. This means that the sodium loses one electron and the chlorine atom gains one electron to form the bond and create the chemical compound.

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