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Characteristics of Elements

Characteristics of Elements

Author: Nathan Lampson

All elements have certain characteristics that are summarized on the periodic table. These characteristics include the element's symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass. You will learn how the number of protons in an atom relates to an element's atomic number, and explore how isotopes affect the atomic mass.

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Elements are atoms that have a certain amount of protons.  The number of protons an element has is its atomic number.


All atoms that have 8 protons are the oxygen element.  

Each element is given their own chemical symbol.  The chemical symbols of elements are usually an abbreviation of the elements name in english.  The chemical symbol for the element oxygen is O.

The atomic mass of an element can vary, though the atomic number of each element cannot change.  When different atoms of an element have different atomic mass numbers, they are known as isotopes.

Characteristics of Elements