What is Chemical Element?

Chemical element is a species of atom having the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei. For example, Atomic number of oxygen is 8, so the element oxygen consists of all atoms which have 8 protons.

There are 118 elements have been identified, The first 94 occur naturally on Earth, and the remaining 24 are synthetic elements. There are 80 elements that have at least one stable isotope and 38 that have exclusively radionuclides, which decay over time into other elements. Oxygen is the most common element in the Earth’s crust.

Chemical elements constitute all of the ordinary matter of the universe. Two lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, were mostly formed in the Big Bang and are the most common elements in the universe. The next three elements lithium, beryllium and boron were formed mostly by cosmic ray spallation, and are thus rarer than heavier elements.

When different elements are chemically combined, with the atoms held together by chemical bonds, they form chemical compounds. Only a minority of elements are found uncombined as relatively pure minerals. Among the more common of such native elements are copper, silver, gold, carbon, and sulfur. All but a few of the most inert elements, such as noble gases and noble metals, are usually found on Earth in chemically combined form, as chemical compounds. While about 32 of the chemical elements occur on Earth in native uncombined forms, most of these occur as mixtures. For example, atmospheric air is primarily a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, and native solid elements occur in alloys, such as that of iron and nickel.

The lightest chemical elements are hydrogen and helium, both created by Big Bang nucleosynthesis during the first 20 minutes of the universe in a ratio of around 3:1 by mass or 12:1 by number of atoms, along with tiny traces of the next two elements, lithium and beryllium. Almost all other elements found in nature were made by various natural methods of nucleosynthesis. On Earth, small amounts of new atoms are naturally produced in nucleogenic reactions, or in cosmogenic processes, such as cosmic ray spallation. New atoms are also naturally produced on Earth as radiogenic daughter isotopes of ongoing radioactive decay processes such as alpha decay, beta decay, spontaneous fission, cluster decay, and other rarer modes of decay.

Chemical Element Periodic Table

Periodic Table of chemical elements