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Introduction: the atom as the building block of matter

We have now seen that different materials have different properties. Some materials are metals and some are non-metals; someare electrical or thermal conductors, while others are not. Depending on the properties of these materials, they can be used in lots of useful applications.But what is it exactly that makes up these materials? In other words, if we were to break down a material into the parts that make it up, what would we find? Andhow is it that a material's microscopic structure (the small parts that make up the material) is able to give it all these different properties?

The answer lies in the smallest building block of matter: the atom . It is the type of atoms, and the way in which they are arranged in a material, that affects the properties of that substance. This is similar to building materials. We can use bricks, steel, cement, wood, straw (thatch), mud and many other things to build structures from. In the same way that the choice of building material affects the properties of the structure, so the atoms that make up matter affect the properties of matter.

It is not often that substances are found in atomic form (just as you seldom find a building or structure made from one building material). Normally, atoms are bonded (joined) to other atoms to form compounds or molecules . It is only in the noble gases (e.g. helium, neon and argon) that atoms are found individually and are not bonded to other atoms. We looked at some of thereasons for this in earlier chapters.

Compounds

Compound
A compound is a group of two or more different atoms that are attracted to each other by relatively strong forces or bonds.

Almost everything around us is made up of molecules. The only substances that are not made of molecules, but instead are individual atoms are the noble gases. Water is made up of molecules, each of which has two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom. Oxygen is a molecule that is made up of two oxygen atoms that are joined to one another. Even the food that we eat is made up ofmolecules that contain atoms of elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that are joined to one another in different ways. All of these are known as small molecules because there are only a few atoms in each molecule. Giant molecules are those where there may be millions of atoms per molecule. Examples of giantmolecules are diamonds , which are made up of millions of carbon atoms bonded to each other and metals , which are made up of millions of metal atoms bonded to each other.

As we learnt in [link] atoms can share electrons to form covalent bonds or exchange electrons to form ionic bonds. Covalently bonded substances are known as molecular compounds. Ionically bonded substances are known as ionic compounds. We also learnt about metallic bonding. In a metal the atoms lose their outermost electrons to form positively charged ions that are arranged in a lattice, while the outermost electrons are free to move amongst the spaces of the lattice.

Questions & Answers

what is variations in raman spectra for nanomaterials
Jyoti Reply
I only see partial conversation and what's the question here!
Crow Reply
what about nanotechnology for water purification
RAW Reply
please someone correct me if I'm wrong but I think one can use nanoparticles, specially silver nanoparticles for water treatment.
Damian
yes that's correct
Professor
I think
Professor
what is the stm
Brian Reply
is there industrial application of fullrenes. What is the method to prepare fullrene on large scale.?
Rafiq
industrial application...? mmm I think on the medical side as drug carrier, but you should go deeper on your research, I may be wrong
Damian
How we are making nano material?
LITNING Reply
what is a peer
LITNING Reply
What is meant by 'nano scale'?
LITNING Reply
What is STMs full form?
LITNING
scanning tunneling microscope
Sahil
how nano science is used for hydrophobicity
Santosh
Do u think that Graphene and Fullrene fiber can be used to make Air Plane body structure the lightest and strongest. Rafiq
Rafiq
what is differents between GO and RGO?
Mahi
what is simplest way to understand the applications of nano robots used to detect the cancer affected cell of human body.? How this robot is carried to required site of body cell.? what will be the carrier material and how can be detected that correct delivery of drug is done Rafiq
Rafiq
what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
Bob
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
brayan
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Damian
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
Renato
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
?
Kyle
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
Adin
why?
Adin
what school?
Kyle
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
Joe
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
research.net
kanaga
sciencedirect big data base
Ernesto
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
Bharti
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
Daniel
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
What makes metals better to use as wires than non-metals? (please link to bonding type)??? HELP
Yash Reply

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry grade 10 [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 13, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11303/1.4
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