A chemical element is a fundamental substance of the material world, one that cannot be divided into a more elementary substance by chemical processes. Each element has an identity—for example, gold consists of only gold atoms, but a gold atom is unlike any other atom. While a gold atom can be split, the subatomic particles (electrons, protons, and neutrons) that constitute a gold atom are, themselves, not gold or unique to gold. It could be said that subatomic particles are generic and interchangeable while atoms, on the other hand, have an identity and becomes the identity of an element.
Many elements—such as iron (Fe), copper (Cu), aluminum (Al), sodium (Na), potassium (K), and lead (Pb)—are familiar everyday substances, but many...Read more