The key difference between mineral and element is that mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic compound that can breakdown into a simpler structure via chemical processes whereas element is a substance that cannot be converted into further simpler structures via any ordinary chemical process.
Minerals are complex structures that have a well-organized chemical structure. These are inorganic substances and are naturally occurring compounds. When considering the basic chemical formula of a mineral, it has a combination of several chemical elements in different ratios. A chemical element is a chemical species of atoms having a similar number of protons in the atomic nucleus. But the number of neutrons in the nucleus can be different; we call them isotopes.
What is Mineral?
A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic solid substance that has a well-ordered chemical structure. It has a characteristic chemical composition and physical properties as well. According to this definition, naturally occurring means, a mineral is not a man-made compound. Inorganic means it is not a product of an organism. In addition, it does not occur in either liquid or gas state at standard temperature and pressure conditions.
All minerals have a definite chemical composition. This means all forms of this mineral that naturally occurs has the same chemical composition with little variations in a limited range. Moreover, these compounds have an ordered internal structure; the atoms in the mineral are arranged in a repeating pattern. Minerals occur in mineral deposits; a naturally occurring deposit of a particular mineral from which we can obtain a mineral in a large scale using existing technologies. The physical properties of minerals differ from each other according to the forms of chemical elements and their ratios present in the mineral.
What is Element?
A chemical element or an element is a substance that we cannot convert into a simpler form via chemical processes. This means any existing chemical process cannot further decompose a chemical element. We can define it as a set of atoms that have the same atomic number and either similar or different mass numbers. These are the fundamental units that build up all matter.
Scientists have discovered 118 chemical elements so far. However, around 20% of these elements are not naturally occurring due to the highly reactive nature. There are 11 elements in the gaseous state under ordinary conditions while two are in the liquid state whereas the rest of the elements are solids. Therefore, most of them are in solid state.
What is the Difference Between Mineral and Element?
A mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic solid substance that has a well-ordered chemical structure. These are very useful in different industries according to the physical properties. A chemical element or an element is a substance that we cannot convert into a simpler form via chemical processes. But, a mineral can break down into a simpler structure via chemical processes. This is the main difference between mineral and element.
Most of the minerals are naturally occurring substances, but around 20% are not in nature due to the high reactivity. Moreover, minerals are solid substances under ordinary conditions while there are 11 elements in a gas state, 2 in a liquid state, while other elements are in the solid state under ordinary conditions.
Summary – Mineral vs Element
Minerals are very important compounds in various industries. Chemical elements are the fundamental units of all matter. Therefore, they are the building blocks of matter. The difference between mineral and element is that a mineral is a naturally occurring, inorganic compound that we can breaks down into simpler structure via chemical processes whereas an element is a substance that cannot be converted into further simpler structures via any ordinary chemical process.
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3. Tayler, Roger John, et al. “Chemical Element.” Encyclopædia Britannica, Encyclopædia Britannica, Inc., 14 Mar. 2018. Available here