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What Is a Chemical Element?


Crystals of Elemental Gold

Crystals of Elemental Gold

U.S. Geological Survey

Question: What Is a Chemical Element?

Answer: A chemical element, or an element, is a material which cannot be broken down or changed into another substance using chemical means. Elements may be thought of as the basic chemical building blocks of matter. Depending on how much evidence you require to prove a new element has been created, there are 117 or 118 known elements.

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