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Thread: Element

  1. #1 Element 
    New Member
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    Dec 2008
    When we say that an "Element" is made up of a pure sample with all of the same kinds of atoms and cannot be further separated in simpler elements.

    What is a SIMPLE example on this statement that can make it more clear especially for me as a beginner in "Chemistry".


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  3. #2  
    Forum Sophomore Tharghana's Avatar
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    Oct 2008
    One Way to tell its an Element, is that these Elements simply don't split into different Chemicals.

    Lets Use an example, if you use electrolysis On Water, this is what happens-

    2 H2O(l) + e = 2 H2(g) + O2(g)

    The Result of this is two elements, Hydrogen and Oxygen, and if you where to burn that Mixture the end results would be water-

    2 H2(g) + O2(g) = 2 H2O(l)

    Now if tried the same thing on Mercury this is what would happen-

    Hg(l) + e = Hg(l) + e

    Simply put, nothing happens, because Mercury is an elements, It can't be split by any chemical process. - A Great Site

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  4. #3  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Jul 2006
    Well, an element doesn't really have anything to do with a 'pure sample.' An element is a substance that can't be separated into simpler...let's say components instead of elements. Or more specifically, can't be separated into simpler components without losing its identity. You can consider the protons, neutrons, and electrons in say a carbon atom, but then (nearly) every atom contains these and you lose the unique properties of the carbon atom.

    So the kind of example you may be looking for... One form the element sulfur assumes when it's in its elemental form is S<sub>8</sub>, which is 8 sulfur atoms joined together in a ring. It consists of only sulfur. You can do something to this to break it down into separate sulfur atoms, but it's still sulfur. Another example would be diamond, which consists completely of carbon atoms and nothing else.

    Then on the other hand, there are compounds like water, H<sub>2</sub>O, which is not an element. It can be separated into separate unique components, hydrogen and oxygen.

    Is that what you were going for?
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