Visual explanation between Molecule vs Compound vs Element vs Atom vs Substance?

Im a visual learner and am trying to find a visual explanation between the meaning of those words.

Is this Venn diagram accurate?

Can you draw a better Venn diagram, perhaps one that would also include other words like homogeneous, heterogeneous, and mixture?

Even if you draw it in Paint, I can re-do it and see if you like it.

Or is this one better?

• I don't think that Venn diagrams are the best way to express the relationship between these concepts - the circles in these diagrams are usually sets, and overlap indicates set intersection. Is the intersection of the set of atoms and the set of molecules the elements? – gilleain Dec 31 '16 at 18:45
• yes, perhaps the "Atoms" should be inside another circle that exists inside the elements circle? I uploaded a new version. – eromod Dec 31 '16 at 18:54
• Not every compound consists of molecules. – aventurin Dec 31 '16 at 19:06
• Table salt ($\ce{NaCl}$) does not consist of molecules. It's a ionic compound. – aventurin Dec 31 '16 at 19:18
• The overlap of "Molecules" and "Atoms" does not make any sense. You either have an atom or a molecule. From Wikipedia: "A molecule is an electrically neutral group of two or more atoms ...". Furthermore, "Elements" can either refer to the species of an atom, e.g. $\ce{O}$. In this case it is not a molecule! Or it refers to the compound an element forms, e.g. $\ce{O2}$. In this case it is not an atom! – Feodoran Jul 29 '17 at 8:23

1 Answer

Here's a cone view.

Everything from large trees to atoms are viewed by our eyes in the cone view (just my perceptions...). This is a very interesting concept. It's like shooting an electron (into or out) of an element, that changes an physical & chemical properties of the atom, compound and substance etc..

Think about a pencil, and what it's made of.

This may be quite far from a deep chemistry expertise. So take this as a simple representation to accommodate the diagrams that you began with and looking from a different perspective. We aren't trying to fit a facts/theory into our understanding and visualisation but other way around.

An important distinction is the clarity of molecule, compound and mixture. Molecules are constructed of atoms of same species. A compound is formed by atoms of different species. Compounds are of 2 different types mainly,

Covalent
Ionic
Intermetallic
Coordinate


Each of this bonds, origin goes back to a single atom and involvement of its orbitals energy and electrons.

For an example,

The water that we drink is a molecule and also a compound, made of two H atoms and oxygen atom covalently bonding. Isn't it odd to read in your paper or an article, "the water compound..." or wouldn't it feel fit to read as "a water molecule...".

The salt we add to balance flavour is a compound, made of one sodium atom (+charged ion) and chloride atom (-charged ion) ionically bonding.

The air we breath is a mixture of various molecules : $H_2O, H_2, O_2, N_2, CO_2$ etc (not atoms).

Put it this way, all compounds could be molecules, but (not) vice versa.

Here's the top view (transverse plane from the very top) of the cone.

In physical sciences the matter is classified in pyramids like the following. Reference is in the image itself.

There are more advanced and slightly different version of discussions on the same topic here on pubchemblog : "difference between xyz..."..

The starting cone isn't pretty as your images. But I will make them more user-friendly and eye-candy if you can comment. This almost feels like a drawing session now, apart from the conceptual outlook. I am happy to read more about intermetallic and coordinate bonding as well to address that in the answer. It is not something I come across on daily basis as I am not in electronics or soldering/alloy analytical chemistry. Apart from the cone, other picture references are taken from here.

• Thank you for your answer. But could you please cite sources on your answer? – Quazi Irfan Aug 4 '17 at 5:27
• @iamcreasy [you have a funny username]. Well the cone view idea is my own perspective and it seems to fit well to the model. I have written information using my chemistry basic knowledge as well. I cited the links that I used. Let me re-check them for you. – bonCodigo Aug 4 '17 at 8:04
• @iamcreasy I rechecked the answer. There's no particular source per se. The picture sources are already embedded or the picture shows the reference. Cones are my own images. Do you want me to include wiki or references quoted in the comments by other users? – bonCodigo Aug 8 '17 at 10:48
• Yes, some other sources would be very helpful. – Quazi Irfan Aug 8 '17 at 20:18