<< Chapter < Page Chapter >> Page >

Introduction: the atom as the building block of matter

We have now seen that different materials have different properties. Some materials are metals and some are non-metals; someare electrical or thermal conductors, while others are not. Depending on the properties of these materials, they can be used in lots of useful applications.But what is it exactly that makes up these materials? In other words, if we were to break down a material into the parts that make it up, what would we find? Andhow is it that a material's microscopic structure (the small parts that make up the material) is able to give it all these different properties?

The answer lies in the smallest building block of matter: the atom . It is the type of atoms, and the way in which they are arranged in a material, that affects the properties of that substance. This is similar to building materials. We can use bricks, steel, cement, wood, straw (thatch), mud and many other things to build structures from. In the same way that the choice of building material affects the properties of the structure, so the atoms that make up matter affect the properties of matter.

It is not often that substances are found in atomic form (just as you seldom find a building or structure made from one building material). Normally, atoms are bonded (joined) to other atoms to form compounds or molecules . It is only in the noble gases (e.g. helium, neon and argon) that atoms are found individually and are not bonded to other atoms. We looked at some of thereasons for this in earlier chapters.

Compounds

Compound
A compound is a group of two or more different atoms that are attracted to each other by relatively strong forces or bonds.

Almost everything around us is made up of molecules. The only substances that are not made of molecules, but instead are individual atoms are the noble gases. Water is made up of molecules, each of which has two hydrogen atoms joined to one oxygen atom. Oxygen is a molecule that is made up of two oxygen atoms that are joined to one another. Even the food that we eat is made up ofmolecules that contain atoms of elements such as carbon, hydrogen and oxygen that are joined to one another in different ways. All of these are known as small molecules because there are only a few atoms in each molecule. Giant molecules are those where there may be millions of atoms per molecule. Examples of giantmolecules are diamonds , which are made up of millions of carbon atoms bonded to each other and metals , which are made up of millions of metal atoms bonded to each other.

As we learnt in [link] atoms can share electrons to form covalent bonds or exchange electrons to form ionic bonds. Covalently bonded substances are known as molecular compounds. Ionically bonded substances are known as ionic compounds. We also learnt about metallic bonding. In a metal the atoms lose their outermost electrons to form positively charged ions that are arranged in a lattice, while the outermost electrons are free to move amongst the spaces of the lattice.

Questions & Answers

how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
Maciej
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
s.
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
Tarell
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
Damian
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
Tarell
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
Virgil
is Bucky paper clear?
CYNTHIA
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Harper
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
s.
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
SUYASH Reply
for screen printed electrodes ?
SUYASH
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
Ebrahim
or in general
Ebrahim
in general
s.
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
tahir
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
Cied
what is biological synthesis of nanoparticles
Sanket Reply
what's the easiest and fastest way to the synthesize AgNP?
Damian Reply
China
Cied
types of nano material
abeetha Reply
I start with an easy one. carbon nanotubes woven into a long filament like a string
Porter
many many of nanotubes
Porter
what is the k.e before it land
Yasmin
what is the function of carbon nanotubes?
Cesar
I'm interested in nanotube
Uday
what is nanomaterials​ and their applications of sensors.
Ramkumar Reply
what is nano technology
Sravani Reply
what is system testing?
AMJAD
preparation of nanomaterial
Victor Reply
Yes, Nanotechnology has a very fast field of applications and their is always something new to do with it...
Himanshu Reply
good afternoon madam
AMJAD
what is system testing
AMJAD
what is the application of nanotechnology?
Stotaw
In this morden time nanotechnology used in many field . 1-Electronics-manufacturad IC ,RAM,MRAM,solar panel etc 2-Helth and Medical-Nanomedicine,Drug Dilivery for cancer treatment etc 3- Atomobile -MEMS, Coating on car etc. and may other field for details you can check at Google
Azam
anybody can imagine what will be happen after 100 years from now in nano tech world
Prasenjit
after 100 year this will be not nanotechnology maybe this technology name will be change . maybe aftet 100 year . we work on electron lable practically about its properties and behaviour by the different instruments
Azam
name doesn't matter , whatever it will be change... I'm taking about effect on circumstances of the microscopic world
Prasenjit
how hard could it be to apply nanotechnology against viral infections such HIV or Ebola?
Damian
silver nanoparticles could handle the job?
Damian
not now but maybe in future only AgNP maybe any other nanomaterials
Azam
Hello
Uday
I'm interested in Nanotube
Uday
this technology will not going on for the long time , so I'm thinking about femtotechnology 10^-15
Prasenjit
can nanotechnology change the direction of the face of the world
Prasenjit Reply
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
Privacy Information Security Software Version 1.1a
Good
What makes metals better to use as wires than non-metals? (please link to bonding type)??? HELP
Yash Reply

Get the best Algebra and trigonometry course in your pocket!





Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry grade 10 [caps]. OpenStax CNX. Jun 13, 2011 Download for free at http://cnx.org/content/col11303/1.4
Google Play and the Google Play logo are trademarks of Google Inc.

Notification Switch

Would you like to follow the 'Chemistry grade 10 [caps]' conversation and receive update notifications?

Ask