Types of Matter

 This is part of Year 11 HSC Chemistry course under the topic of Properties of Matter 

HSC Chemistry Syllabus

  • Introduction to Chemistry

Types of Matter

What is Matter? 

Matter is the fundamental substance of the universe and encompasses everything that has mass and occupies space. From the tiniest subatomic particles, to colossal celestial bodies, matter forms the building blocks of reality as we know it.

Matter can be categorised into three primary forms: 

1. Elements: 

  • An element is a pure substance composed of only one type of atom. Elements cannot be broken down into other substances through physical or chemical means. All known elements are represented on the periodic table.
  • Examples of elements include oxygen (O), hydrogen (H), and iron (Fe).

2. Compounds: 

  • A compound is a pure substance that consists of two or more different elements chemically bonded together in a fixed ratio. The properties of a compound are distinct from those of its constituent elements. Compounds can be chemically broken down into their individual elements.
  • Examples of compounds include water (`H_2O`) and carbon dioxide (`CO_2`)

The image on the left depicts a particle composed of two atoms from the same element. As it contains only one type of element, it qualifies as an elemental molecule.

Contrarily, the image on the right displays a combination of two distinct elements. Meeting the criteria of containing multiple types of atoms, this structure constitutes a compound

    3. Mixtures:  

    • A mixture contains two or more types of elements and/or compounds combined in varying proportions. Unlike compounds, the components of a mixture are not chemically bonded but are physically combined. The components of a mixture retain their original properties and can be separated using physical methods. 
    • Examples of mixtures include saltwater (water `H_2O` and table salt `NaCl`) and air (nitrogen gas `N_2` and oxygen gas `O_2`).

    The illustrated image above showcases the particulate structure of a mixture. It consists of a diverse mix of element(s) and/or different compounds,