What are elements?

  • An element is a substance that cannot be broken down into any other substance. Every element is made up of its own type of atom. This is why the chemical elements are all very different from each other.

  • Everything in the universe contains the atoms of at least one or more elements.

  • The periodic table lists all the known elements and groups together those with similar properties.

A case study video on how a jeweller uses gold in their job.

An element is a substance that cannot be broken down into any other substance. There are about 100 elements, each with its own type of atom. Everything in the universe contains the atoms of at least one or more elements.

The periodic table lists all the known elements, grouping together those with similar properties. Most elements are metals, which are shiny and conduct electricity well. Metals include gold, aluminium and iron which are all solid at room temperature. Mercury is the only metal that is liquid at room temperature.

Some elements are non-metals. Most non-metals are gases at room temperature and do not conduct electricity. Non-metal elements with these properties include oxygen, hydrogen and chlorine. A few non-metals, such as carbon and sulphur, are in a solid state at room temperature.

A model of the structure of gold and an oxygen molecule.