Matter, Atoms, and Bonds



Matter, atoms, and bonds are vital to life. All forms of life are made of matter. Matter is anything that occupies space and has mass. Atoms are the smallest piece of an element. Elements are substances that cannot be broken down and still retain their distinct chemical properties. When atoms chemically bond together through chemical reactions, they form molecules. Bonds form between atoms to achieve stability through being in the lowest energy state.

At A Glance

  • Most matter is made of atoms, and only one kind of atom makes an element.
  • Atoms have a definite structure and are made up of protons, neutrons, and electrons.
  • Atoms consist of an atomic nucleus, containing protons and neutrons, and an outer region, containing electrons.
  • Ions are charged particles formed when an atom gains or loses electrons. Isotopes are atoms of an element with different numbers of neutrons in their nucleus.
  • Electron shells are the atomic location where electrons may be found. They fill from the nucleus outward and seek their most stable form.
  • Atomic orbitals are where the electrons are located at different energy levels.
  • Atoms can form different types of bonds to produce a variety of molecules.
  • Ionic bonds form when atoms transfer electrons from one to another, while covalent bonds form when atoms share electrons.
  • Hydrogen bonds, which form between a hydrogen and a negatively charged atom, and London dispersion forces are weak chemical bonds.
  • Chemical reactions are constantly taking place, forming molecules from atoms that chemically bond together.
  • Chemical equilibrium occurs when chemical reactions occur in the forward and reverse directions at the same rate.