Difference Between An Atom And A Molecule

Difference Between An Atom And A Molecule

What is an Atom?

Atom, the smallest unit that matter can be broken down into without releasing any electrically charged particles. Atoms are also the smallest unit of matter that exhibit the characteristic properties of an element. As such, the atom is the fundamental building block for chemistry.

Example: Ne, O

What is a Molecule?

A molecule can be defined as the combinations of two or more atoms which are held together by chemical bonds. A molecule is the smallest portion of a substance which showcases all the properties of the substance. On breaking down a molecule further, we see properties of the constituent elements.

Example: O2, HCl

Differences between Atoms & Molecules

Let us discuss the differences between atoms and molecules.

Atoms vs molecules

Factor Atoms Molecules
Definition Most fundamental and smallest part that can exist of an element. Two or more atoms chemically bonded together.
Example Oxygen – O

Phosphorus – P

Sulphur – S

Hydrogen – H

Oxygen – O2

Phosphorus – P4

Sulphur – S8

Water – H2O

Structure The smallest particle with properties of an element. Combination of two or more atoms.
Stability An atom may not always be stable in nature due to the presence of electrons in the outer shells. Molecules are formed to attain stability.
Constituent Particles Protons, Electrons & Neutrons Two or more atoms of the same or different elements
Reactivity Except for the noble elements, atoms of all elements showcase a certain level of reactivity. Compared to an atom, the level of reactivity is less because some valence points are filled by electrons of combined elements.

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Atoms and Molecules

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs


What is an atom and molecule?

The ‘simple building blocks of matter’ are known as atoms. The properties of the chemical element are the smallest constituent units of substance. Molecules are made up of one or more atoms connected by covalent (chemical) bonds.


Is an atom considered as a molecule?

The term molecule is also used for any gaseous particle in the kinetic theory of gases, irrespective of its structure. Usually, atoms and complexes related by non-covalent interactions, such as bonds of hydrogen or ionic bonds, are not called independent molecules. It is normal to have molecules as elements of matter.


What does atom mean?

The essential units of matter and the defining structure of elements are atoms. The name “atom” derives from the Greek word for indivisible, since atoms were once considered to be the smallest objects in the world and could not be separated. After the Big Bang, 13.7 billion years ago, atoms were formed.


Can an atom be created?

It is difficult to build or kill atoms, because they are indestructible; it is difficult to divide them into smaller pieces. This was founded upon the Law of Mass Conservation. It was later discovered that atoms are capable of separating into smaller pieces. The division, mixture, or rearrangement of atoms requires chemical reactions.


What is the best definition of an atom?

An atom is a particle of matter that describes a chemical substance in a special way. A single nucleus, which is normally surrounded by one or more electrons, makes an atom. Each electron is charged negatively. The nucleus is charged positively, and comprises one or two particles such as protons and neutrons that are relatively strong.

Thus, here we have discussed some differences between atoms and molecules. Keep visiting BYJU’S to learn more differences.

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