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Chemistry in Quantitative LanguageFundamentals of General Chemistry Calculations$
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Christopher O. Oriakhi

Print publication date: 2009

Print ISBN-13: 9780195367997

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: November 2020

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780195367997.001.0001

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Chemical Formulas and Nomenclature

Chemical Formulas and Nomenclature

7 (p.67) Chemical Formulas and Nomenclature
Chemistry in Quantitative Language

Christopher O. Oriakhi

Oxford University Press

An element is a pure substance that cannot be split up into simpler substances. There are 106 known different elements. Of these, only 92 occur naturally in the earth’s crust and atmosphere. Scientists have made the other 14 elements artificially. All the elements can be arranged in a periodic table, which displays the important relationships between the elements and the structures of their atoms. • Each element has a name and a symbol. The symbol is usually derived from the name of the element by taking the capital form of the first letter of the name. For example, the symbol for nitrogen is N. In most other cases, the capital letter followed by the next letter in lowercase is used. For example, the symbol for aluminum is Al. • The symbols for some elements are derived from their Latin names. For example, the symbol for sodium is Na, from its Latin name natrium. Potassium has the symbol K, taken from its Latin name, kalium. • Most of the known elements are metals. Only 22 are nonmetallic. • All elements are made up of atoms. Atoms of the same element are identical in all respects (except for isotopic differences, see chapter 3) but are different from atoms of other elements. • Atom: the smallest particle of an element that can take part in a chemical combination. • Molecule: a collection of two or more atoms of the same or different elements held together by covalent bonds. • Atomicity of an element: the number of atoms present in one molecule of the element. 1. Monatomic elements exist as single atoms. Examples include sodium (Na), iron (Fe), and the noble gases (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, and Rn). 2. Diatomic elements contain two atoms per molecule of the element. The atomicity is written as a subscript after the symbol of the element. Examples of diatomic molecules include H2, O2, Cl2, N2, etc. 3. Triatomic elements contain three atoms per molecule. An example is ozone (O3). 4. Tetraatomic elements contain four atoms of the element per molecule. An example is yellow phosphorus (P4).

Keywords:   chemical formula, diatomic substance, monatomic substance, naming chemical compounds, periodic table, polyatomic ion, tetraatomic substance, triatomic substance

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