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Chapter 6 The Chemistry of Life Ch 61 Atoms Their Interactions Both living and nonliving things are composed of the same basic building blocks called atoms Elements Element- a substance that cant be broken down into simpler chemical substances On Earth 90 elements occur naturally Natural elements in living things- Only about 25 of 90 elements are essential to living organisms Each element is identified by a one or two letter abbreviation ex C - carbon Trace elements- Exist in very small amounts but are essential Atoms The building blocks of Elements Elements are made up of atoms Atoms- the smallest particle of an element that has the characteristics of that element The structure of an atom- Each element has distinct characteristics Nucleus- center of atom made of positively charged particles protons and particles with no charge neutrons Electron cloud- small particles with negative charge spin at high speed around the nucleus Electron energy levels- Each energy level has a limited capacity first holds 2 e- second holds 8 e- and third holds 18 e- Isotopes of an Element- Isotopes- atoms of the same element that have different numbers of neutrons ex Carbon- 12 Carbon- 13 and Carbon- 14 Isotope nuclei are unstable and break apart releasing energy as they do Compounds Bonding- Water is not an element it is a compound Compound- a substance that is composed of atoms of two or more different elements that are chemically combined Characteristics of a compound are different than those of the individual elements How covalent bonds form- Most matter is in the form of compounds Most elements are stable when their outer energy levels are full one way to fill the outer shell is to share electrons Most compounds in organisms have covalent bonds Covalent bonds- the force that holds two atoms together when they share electrons Molecules- a group of atoms held together by covalent bonds and having no overall charge For example
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