Difference Between Similar Terms and Objects

Difference Between Atom and Molecule

atom-dbAn atom is smallest particle in an element that has the properties of the element. It is not possible to breakdown the atom further retaining the properties of the element. Atoms are not visible to the naked eye and are the basic building blocks. For example the atoms of element gold cannot be broken down further and each atom has the properties of gold.

Molecules are formed by the combination of two or more atoms. Unlike atoms, molecules can be subdivided to individual atoms. The atoms are bonded together in a molecule. Molecules also are not visible to the naked eye, while can be seen through highly magnifying microscopes and other scientific devices. Water is comprised of numerous water molecules. Each water molecule is made up of one oxygen atom and two hydrogen atoms. So a water molecule can be further divided into oxygen and hydrogen atoms. But these atoms cannot be subdivided. In a molecule, atoms are bonded together by single, double, or triple bonds.

An atom has a nucleus surrounded by electrons. The electrons are negatively charged particles. The nucleus contains electrons and positively charged protons. Depending on the majority of the particles, the atom can be positively or negatively charged. When these charged atoms bond together to form molecules, the bonds are formed by the electrons filling up the outer orbits of the atoms. Since atoms exist independently, there is no bonding in an atom.

When atoms combine in different numbers to form a molecule, the end result can vary. For example, when two atoms of oxygen combine to form a molecule, it becomes O2 which is the oxygen we breathe in. But when three oxygen atoms combine to form an O3 molecule, it becomes Ozone. So another difference between atoms and molecules is that when similar atoms combine together in varying numbers, molecules of different properties can be formed. But when similar molecules combine together in any numbers, a simple product is formed.

A molecule is usually stable to exist by itself but an atom is not stable by itself. This is owing to the presence of electrons in the atoms. Only when sufficient number of electrons are present in an atom, it becomes stable. The sufficient number of electrons are received in an atom, when two atoms bond together and share the electrons. Thus it becomes stable and forms a molecule. Not all atoms can bond together. The bonding depends on the charge and chemical properties of the atoms.

Atoms and molecules are present in all objects and living things. The composition and density levels vary the thickness and form of the objects. In gases, the molecules are very loosely packed so that the molecules can flow around easily without colliding. In liquids, the packing is a bit more compact and so the particles are always together. But in solids the packing is very compact and hardly any movement to the molecules is allowed, giving the object a firm shape.

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25 Comments

  1. thanks that really helped!!

  2. This is the best answers that I got and I went to like two other websites and it wasn’t the right things I was looking for.

  3. Thanks!its really helps me:-)

  4. thank you very much…..I believe it will get good grades on tests semester of physics and chemistry, thanks…..

  5. Really helped me! Thankss!!!:)

  6. Thank you so much! The most basic breakdown of the subject matter I could find, and really explained the difference in terminology in very easy, understandable language. I get the larger picture of this question now.

  7. Whew! Thank goodness I found this! I had to do a proyect about the Aurora Borealis and I had to explain the difference of Atomic and Molecular Oxygen, since the colliding of the electrons from the sun with these Oxygens (and also Nitrogen) form the colors of it. Red is Aromic Oxigen and Green is Molecular Oxigen. I’m reeeeeaaaaally lucky to have found this!!!!!

  8. Hi, for a layman like me this was the most comprehensible article to understand the basics. I have a confusion though, need your help on this. In 3rd line of 3rd paragraph it is written that “The nucleus contains electrons and positively charged protons” but doesn’t nucleus contain “neutrons” and protons?

  9. Thanks This Really Helped Me Out In Class. We Use IPads And We Have This Worksheet It Was Hard But I’m Lucky I Found This website. THANK YOU !!!!!!!! :-D

    • IPADS! Please Give Me A Break, Bloody Private Schools, I Got An Atar Of 97.75 At A Government School, Along With 23 Others Students Out Of 59 Getting Above 90

  10. Get over yourself I had worksheet and it was hard af

  11. who discovered the difference between the atom and the molecule?

  12. Thank you bunches! Straight to the point, and very helpful! :)

  13. Superb!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It was useful……………………….thanks

  14. you go f**k your selfs i said diffrences not S A god it supposed to be in points and and in a table this website rocks cuz it is filled with douche bags

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