Atom vs Compound
The single elements are hardly stable under natural conditions. They form various combinations between them or with other elements in order to exist. When this happens, the properties of single elements vary and give rise to novel mixtures.
Atoms are the small building blocks of all existing substances. They are so tiny that we cannot even observe with our naked eye. Normally atoms are in the Angstrom range. Atom is made up of a nucleus, which has protons and neutrons. Other than neutrons and positrons, there are other small sub atomic particles in the nucleus. In addition, there are electrons circling around the nucleus in orbital. Most of the space in an atom is empty. The attractive forces between the positively charged nucleus (positive charge due to protons) and the negatively charged electrons maintain the atom’s shape. Atoms of the same kind have similar protons and electrons. Same type of atoms may differ due to the number of neutrons present, and these are known as isotopes. Atoms can join with other atoms in various ways, thus form thousands of molecules. All elements have a diatomic or polyatomic arrangement to become stable except the Nobel gases. According to their electron donating or withdrawing abilities, they can form covalent bonds or ionic bonds. Sometimes, there are very weak attractions between atoms.
Atom’s structure was determined by series of experiments carried out by various scientists. According to the Daltons theory,
• All matters are made out of atoms and atoms cannot be broken down further.
• All atoms of a given element are identical.
• Compounds are formed by the combination of two or more atoms.
• Atoms cannot be made or destroyed. A chemical reaction is a rearrangement of atoms.
However, there are some modifications in the Daltons theory now with the more advanced finding about the atom.
Compounds are a chemical substance made up by two or more different chemical elements. Combinations of two or more of the same chemical elements are not considered as compounds. For example, diatomic molecules like O2, H2, N2 or polyatomic molecules like P4 are not considered as compounds, but they are considered as molecules. NaCl, H2O, HNO3, and C6H12O6 are some examples of common compounds. Therefore, compounds are a subset of molecules. The elements in a compound are joined together by covalent bonds, ionic bonds, metallic bonds, etc. The structure of the compound gives the number of atoms in the compound and their ratios. In a compound, elements are present in a definite proportion. We can find these details easily by looking at a chemical formula of a compound. Compounds are stable, and they have a characteristic shape, color, properties, etc.
What is the difference between Atom and Compound?
• Compounds are made of two or more different types of atoms.
• Atoms are much smaller than the compounds.
• Compounds have different chemical and physical properties than the atoms involved.
• Atoms cannot be broken down further, without changing the properties of it. It can only be broken down to subatomic particles. However, a compound can be broken down into molecules or atoms.