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Basic Chemistry Terms

VSAT 2023

Overview of Chemistry Terms

Last updated date: 16th Jan 2023
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The scientific study of matter's characteristics and behaviour is known as chemistry. Chemistry vocabulary and Chemistry glossary are different from the normal vocabulary. It is a branch of natural science that examines the building blocks of matter, including the atoms, molecules, and ions that make up compounds and their composition, structure, behaviour, and changes that occur when they interact with other things.

The quantum mechanical approach is currently used to explain atomic structure. The study of fundamental constituents such as atoms, molecules, substances, metals, crystals, and other aggregates of the matter is where traditional chemistry begins. Let’s now see about some basic terms of chemistry and some important chemistry terms.

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The smallest component that makes up an element is called an atom. Atoms that are neutral or ionised make up every solid, liquid, gas, and form of plasma. Atoms are incredibly tiny, measuring typically 100 picometers across. Due to the quantum effects, they are so small that it is impossible to predict their behaviour with sufficient accuracy using Classical Physics, as would be the case, for example, if they were tennis balls. Thus, it is the smallest unit of an element.

Each atom is made up of a nucleus and one or more electrons that are linked to it. One or more protons and a significant number of neutrons make up the nucleus.




Proton was discovered by Ernest Rutherford and it is a subatomic particle which has an elementary unit positive charge. It is the fundamental constituent of the atomic nucleus.


Neutrons are subatomic particles bearing no charge and it is a constituents of the atomic nucleus. Chadwick discovered the presence of these particles when a thin sheet of beryllium was bombarded with alpha particles. 


An electron is a subatomic particle that bears an elementary unit negative charge. It is also known as the primary charge carrier.

Atomic Number and Mass Number

Atomic Number

Given below are some important points about atomic numbers.

  • The atomic number of an atom is determined by counting all the protons in its nucleus.

  • It is symbolised by the letter "Z."

  • A specific element's atoms all have the same atomic number since all of its protons are the same.

  • Atomic numbers vary among atoms belonging to various elements.

  • For instance, all carbon atoms have an atomic number of 6, whereas all oxygen atoms have an atomic nucleus with eight protons.

Mass Number

Given below are some important points about mass numbers.

  • The mass of an atom is determined by the sum of the protons and neutrons.

  • It is symbolised by the letter "A."

  • Since protons and neutrons coexist in the atom's nucleus, they are collectively referred to as nucleons.

  • For instance, a carbon atom contains 6 protons and 6 neutrons. Its mass number is 12.

  • All atoms of an element have the same amount of protons, although they can have different numbers of neutrons. As a result, various isotopes of the same element can have different mass values.

  • An electron weighs practically nothing. As a result, an atom's atomic mass and mass number are practically equal.

Isotopes and Isobars

Atoms having the same atomic number and distinct mass number are termed isotopes. For example,  protium, deuterium, and tritium are isotopes of hydrogen.



Atoms bearing the same mass number and distinct atomic number are termed isobars. 



Pure Substances, Compounds and Mixtures

Pure Substance 

The matter with invariant chemical composition and distinct properties is termed a pure substance. For example, glucose, gold and water. It is classified into two forms: elements and compounds.


When two or more two atoms of different elements are combined together by chemical bonds in a definite proportion, a chemical compound is formed. For example, NaCl and baking soda.


When a material is made up of two or more different pure substances, which may be present in it in any ratio in the form of suspension, solution or colloid is known as a mixture. For example, tea and sugar solution.


In this article about basic Chemistry terms, we have discussed some important Chemistry terms including atoms, protons, neutrons, electrons, atomic number, mass number, pure substance, compound and mixture. The study of matter and the substances that make it up is the focus of the scientific subdiscipline of Chemistry. The characteristics of these substances and the reactions they go through to produce new substances are also covered. 

Atoms, ions, and molecules, which in turn make up elements and compounds, are the main subjects of Chemistry. Through chemical bonding, these chemical species frequently communicate with one another. With this, we would bring this article about basic terms of Chemistry to closure and hope it was fun to learn.

FAQs on Basic Chemistry Terms

1. Why is it important to learn about basic Chemistry terms?

It is important to learn about basic Chemistry terms because learning proper chemistry words will help you fully understand the presence of different materials surrounding you and the risk levels of hazardous chemicals around your home.

2. Who is the father of Chemistry?

Antonie Laviosier is popularly known as the father of Chemistry

3. Who discovered the atom?

A chemist, John Dalton, is credited with the discovery of the atom.

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