Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Atom and Mole

Matter is anything that occupies space and has mass. In fact, everything around us is made of matter and that includes the air we breathe, the things we can touch or smell, or the objects we deal with everyday. One of the fundamental properties of matter is its composition, or the specific types of atoms and molecules that make it up. Atoms are the smallest invisible unit of an element. They are too small to see though a microscope. Until the twentieth century, scientists had no solid evidence regarding the existence of atoms. It wasn’t until a few Greek philosophers stumbled upon the notion that matter might consist of atoms, scientists began to understand the concept of atoms.

Molecules are collection of atoms that are held together by chemical bonds, representing the smallest fundamental unit of a chemical compound with chemical properties of that compound. However, atoms and molecules are too small to be convenient for more practical applications. The unit used to define the amount of a substance in a chemical reaction is the “mole”. A mole is the unit of amount in chemistry that contains as many particles as there are atoms in exactly 12 grams of carbon-12. The bridge between atoms and moles is Avogadro’s number, 6.022×1023.

 

What is an Atom?

An atom is the smallest unit of an element. Atoms are too small to be visible to naked eye or to see through a microscope. They rarely exist as individual units; in fact, they combine with each other to produce the familiar objects of everyday life. The first person to propose the existence of atoms was the Greek philosopher Leucippus, and in doing so, he developed the theory of atomism. His student, Democritus, contributed to the theory of atomism by suggesting that matter is in fact, made of tiny indestructible particles called “atomos” meaning uncuttable which formed the origin of the word atom. And it was not until the twentieth century that the inner structure of the atom was revealed. Atoms consist of definite combination of three types of subatomic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons.

 

What is a Mole?

The mole is the unit of amount that contains as many particles as there are atoms in exactly 12 grams of carbon-12. John Dalton’s atomic theory laid the foundations of modern-day chemistry. He formulated the first atomic theory in the early 1800s, by collecting and analyzing scientific data from his peers. This was a great example of how the method is used. The theory had several postulates associated with it. However, one problem with his theory at that time was that the amount of matter could only be measured in mass terms. There was no way to better understand the amount of matter on the atomic level. The unit used to define the amount of a substance in chemical reaction is the “mole”. This unit is reserved for very small parts like atoms or molecules.

 

Difference between Atoms and Moles

Definition of Atoms vs.  Moles

– Atoms are the fundamental unit of matter and defining structure of elements. An atom is the smallest possible unit of matter that has properties of an element. Atoms are tiny structures that are many thousands of times too small to see through a microscope, let alone visible to the naked eye. A mole is the unit of amount in chemistry that contains as many particles as there are atoms in exactly 12 grams of carbon-12. The mole is a unit used to define the amount of a substance in a chemical reaction.

Conversion for Atoms and Moles

– Some molecules are made of more than one types of atoms, so converting them to atoms is not always possible. For example, CO2 has two atoms of oxygen and one atom of carbon, which makes up a total of three atoms in one molecule. So, for two molecules of CO2, you have two atoms of carbon and four atoms of oxygen. Mole is reserved for measuring small units like atoms or molecules. One mole is the Avogadro’s number of particles, which is 6.022×1023. So converting to moles is relatively easy because the number remains the same.

Structure of an Atoms and Moles

– Atoms are made of smaller particles called protons, electrons, and neutrons. Atoms are so small you cannot see them with the naked eye. They can only be seen through special, high-powered microscopes used by scientists. The nucleus is the center of an atom which contains one or more protons (positively charged) and the neutrons (no charge). Mole, on the other hand, is a special unit that describes a big collection of atoms or molecules. The mole is represented by the Avogadro’s number (6.022×1023). One mole of any substance contains Avogadro’s number of units of that substance, but the mass varies from object to object.

Atom vs. Mole: Comparison Chart

 

Summary of Atoms vs. Moles

In a nutshell, the bridge between atoms and moles is the Avogadro’s number, which is 6.022×1023. Avogadro’s number is the basis for the mole as it makes calculating the mass or weight of one mole quite easy. Mole is reserved for measuring small units like atoms or molecules. Atoms, on the other hand, are the smallest invisible unit of an element, which are too small to see though a microscope. Atoms consist of definite combination of three types of subatomic particles: protons, neutrons, and electrons. Mole is usually represented by the Avogadro’s number.

 

Sagar Khillar

Sagar Khillar is a prolific content/article/blog writer working as a Senior Content Developer/Writer in a reputed client services firm based in India. He has that urge to research on versatile topics and develop high-quality content to make it the best read. Thanks to his passion for writing, he has over 7 years of professional experience in writing and editing services across a wide variety of print and electronic platforms.

Outside his professional life, Sagar loves to connect with people from different cultures and origin. You can say he is curious by nature. He believes everyone is a learning experience and it brings a certain excitement, kind of a curiosity to keep going. It may feel silly at first, but it loosens you up after a while and makes it easier for you to start conversations with total strangers – that’s what he said."

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1 Comment

  1. It is good to add knowledge
    Please provide more about finance knowledge too

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References :


[0]Image credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:CNX_Chem_03_03_empform.jpg

[1]Image credit: https://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/8/80/Atom_Diagram.svg/500px-Atom_Diagram.svg.png

[2]Ucko, David A. Basics for Chemistry. Amsterdam, Netherlands: Elsevier, 2013. Print

[3]Myers, Richard. The Basics of Chemistry. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group, 2003. Print

[4]Vining, William, et al. General Chemistry: Atoms First. Boston, Massachusetts: Cengage, 2017. Print

[5]Woodford, Chris and Martin Clowes. Atoms and Molecules: Investigating the Building Blocks of Matter. New York: Rosen Publishing, 2012. Print

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