What Is Matter? • Earth.com

What Is Matter?

What Is Matter? In simple terms, matter is anything that has mass and occupies space. Solids, liquids and gases are all made up of matter. Basically, matter is everything around you.

But how is matter created? Matter is made up of atoms. What is the tiniest thing that you can think of? Chances are whatever you think of will be way bigger than atoms.

An atom is the smallest particle that exists which can’t be seen with the naked eye. It is made up of positively charged protons, negatively charged electrons, and neutrally charged neutrons.

The core of an atom is called the nucleus. Atoms are the smallest piece of an element that contain the same properties of that element. For example, if you cut a piece of aluminum into pieces, the smallest piece will be the atom.

What Is Matter? Molecules are formed when two or more atoms join together. This fusion creates a molecule. It does not matter if the atoms are the same or different from each other.

Examples of molecules include H2O (water) or N2 (Nitrogen). It is important to remember that molecules are only formed when two or more atoms are joined. For example, Oxygen (O) alone is not a molecule – but, when oxygen joins with other elements like Hydrogen (H2), it forms a water molecule H20.
Compounds are molecules that are made up of more than one element. Compounds and molecules are held together by forces known as chemical bonds. Compounds can only be formed when two or more elements join together. A single element cannot form a compound.

Sodium Chloride (NaCl) is a good example of a compound. It is made up of one molecule of sodium (Na) and one molecule of chlorine (Cl).

Now you know all about the building blocks that make up everything – from air to water to you, yourself!

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