Chemistry » Classification of Matter » Pure Substances

Elements

Elements

An element is a chemical substance that can’t be divided or changed into other chemical substances by any ordinary chemical means. The smallest unit of an element is the atom.

Definition: Element

An element is a substance that cannot be broken down into other substances through chemical means.

There are \(\text{112}\) officially named elements and about \(\text{118}\) known elements. Most of these are natural, but some are man-made. The elements we know are represented in the periodic table, where each element is abbreviated to a chemical symbol. The table below gives the first \(\text{20}\) elements and some of the common transition metals.

Did You Know?

Recently it was agreed that two more elements would be added to the list of officially named elements. These are elements number \(\text{114}\) and \(\text{116}\). The proposed name for element \(\text{114}\) is flerovium and for element \(\text{116}\) it is moscovium. This brings the total number of officially named elements to \(\text{114}\).

Element name

Element symbol

Element name

Element symbol

Hydrogen

\(\text{H}\)

Phosphorus

\(\text{P}\)

Helium

\(\text{He}\)

Sulfur

\(\text{S}\)

Lithium

\(\text{Li}\)

Chlorine

\(\text{Cl}\)

Beryllium

\(\text{Be}\)

Argon

\(\text{Ar}\)

Boron

\(\text{B}\)

Potassium

\(\text{K}\)

Carbon

\(\text{C}\)

Calcium

\(\text{Ca}\)

Nitrogen

\(\text{N}\)

Iron

\(\text{Fe}\)

Oxygen

\(\text{O}\)

Nickel

\(\text{Ni}\)

Fluorine

\(\text{F}\)

Copper

\(\text{Cu}\)

Neon

\(\text{Ne}\)

Zinc

\(\text{Zn}\)

Sodium

\(\text{Na}\)

Silver

\(\text{Ag}\)

Magnesium

\(\text{Mg}\)

Platinum

\(\text{Pt}\)

Aluminium

\(\text{Al}\)

Gold

\(\text{Au}\)

Silicon

\(\text{Si}\)

Mercury

\(\text{Hg}\)

Table: List of the first 20 elements and some common transition metals

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