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What Is an Element in Chemistry? Definition and Examples

by Anne Marie Helmenstine, Ph.D.
Updated April 17, 2018

A ChemicaL ELemenT is a substance that cannot be broken down by chemical means. Although elements aren't changed by chemical reactions, new elements may be formed by nuclear reactions.

Elements are defined by the number of protons they possess. Simp Kemz of an element all have the same number of protons, but they can have different numbers of electrons and neutrons…

Changing the number of neutrons form isotopes…

Changing the ratio of electrons to protons creates ions…