Helium is a fascinating gas. It’s often used to fill balloons so they can float.

Helium is also used in arc welding. Oh, and did you know? It’s also used for rockets. In fact, the biggest consumer of helium in USA is NASA.

Is helium an element, compound, or mixture?

Helium is an element. It’s a noble gas with an atomic number of 2. Helium (He) consists only of its own kind of atom. Helium cannot be broken down. Therefore, helium is neither a compound nor a mixture.

Helium is a noble gas. It does exist in the atmosphere naturally. But we cannot feel or see it since it’s odorless and colorless.

This article will talk about why helium is an element as opposed to compound or mixture. So, keep on reading!

What Is An Element?

In science, an element is a simple substance that purely consists of its own kind of atom. An element may consist of so many atoms, but all of those atoms have the same atomic number.

Element is so pure that it cannot be broken down or decomposed. No matter how many times you try to break it down, the element will remain the same substance. It will not turn into another element.

Some examples of elements are carbon, hydrogen, oxygen, iron, neon, and tin.

There are 118 elements on the periodic table. Each of them has special feature.

What Is A Compound?

In chemistry, a compound is a substance that is made of 2 or more elements that combine together and form a chemical bond. Compound has a definite ratio of composition which means the same kind of compound will have the same molecule no matter where it’s found on earth.

So, the simplest kind of matter is element.

There are so many elements on earth. Those elements do not always stand by themselves. They often combine with 1 or many other elements to form something else.

If those elements combine chemically in a definite ratio, they form a compound.

Compound always has a fixed certain ratio of composition. It means that the same kind of molecule will always have the same molecule.

For example, salt is a compound that consist of Na (sodium) and Cl (chloride). Salt has a chemical formula of NaCl, it’s one part of Na (sodium atom) and one part of Cl (chloride atom). The ratio is always 1:1.

What Is A Mixture?

A mixture is a material that consist of 2 or more elements or compounds that usually has no chemical bond (they combine physically) and they have no definite ratio of composition.

Remember the explanation about elements?

If two or more elements combine chemically in a fixed certain ratio of composition, they make compound.

If two or more elements combine physically without a fixed certain ratio of composition, they make mixture.

There are so many mixtures in our daily life.

Some examples of mixtures are mud, fruit salad, a bowl of cereal and milk, a glass of water and ice cubes, and smoke.

Is Helium An Element, Compound, or Mixture?

After reading those explanations above, you may know realize how different the three categories of matter are.

And it can help you classify something easily, if you know the composition of the material.

Helium is a noble gas that is listed in the periodic table.

Helium (He) is an element. It purely consists of the same kind of atom. It’s neither a mixture or compound because you need more than 1 element to make any of them.

Daniel Smithson

Hi, I'm Daniel Smithson, a Chemistry teacher for over 35-years and the founder of DearLearners.com Learning should be fun and accessible to all. Find out more about our mission here: https://dearlearners.com/about-us/

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