Browse Definitions :
Definition

molecule

A molecule is the smallest particle in a chemical element or compound that has the chemical properties of that element or compound. Molecules are made up of atoms that are held together by chemical bonds. These bonds form as a result of the sharing or exchange of electrons among atoms. The atoms of certain elements readily bond with other atoms to form molecules. Examples of such elements are oxygen and chlorine. The atoms of some elements do not easily bond with other atoms. Examples are neon and argon.

Molecules can vary greatly in size and complexity. The element helium is a one-atom molecule. Some molecules consist of two atoms of the same element. For example, O2 is the oxygen molecule most commonly found in the earth's atmosphere; it has two atoms of oxygen. However, under certain circumstances, oxygen atoms bond into triplets (O3), forming a molecule known as ozone. Other familiar molecules include water, consisting of two hydrogen atoms and one oxygen atom (H2O), carbon dioxide, consisting of one carbon atom bonded to two oxygen atoms (CO2), and sulfuric acid, consisting of two hydrogen atoms, one sulfur atom, and four oxygen atoms (H2 SO4).

Some molecules, notably certain proteins, contain hundreds or even thousands of atoms that join together in chains that can attain considerable lengths. Liquids containing such molecules sometimes behave strangely. For example, a liquid may continue to flow out of a flask from which some of it has been poured, even after the flask is returned to an upright position.

Molecules are always in motion. In solids and liquids, they are packed tightly together. In a solid, the motion of the molecules can be likened to rapid vibration. In a liquid, the molecules can move freely among each other, in a sort of slithering fashion. In a gas, the density of molecules is generally less than in a liquid or solid of the same chemical compound, and they move even more freely than in a liquid. For a specific compound in a given state (solid, liquid, or gas), the speed of molecular motion increases as the absolute temperature increases.

This was last updated in December 2016

Continue Reading About molecule

SearchCompliance
  • OPSEC (operations security)

    OPSEC (operations security) is a security and risk management process and strategy that classifies information, then determines ...

  • smart contract

    A smart contract is a decentralized application that executes business logic in response to events.

  • compliance risk

    Compliance risk is an organization's potential exposure to legal penalties, financial forfeiture and material loss, resulting ...

SearchSecurity
  • email virus

    An email virus consists of malicious code distributed in email messages to infect one or more devices.

  • key fob

    A key fob is a small, programmable device that provides access to a physical object.

  • identity theft

    Identity theft, also known as identity fraud, is a crime in which an imposter obtains key pieces of personally identifiable ...

SearchHealthIT
SearchDisasterRecovery
  • What is risk mitigation?

    Risk mitigation is a strategy to prepare for and lessen the effects of threats faced by a business.

  • change control

    Change control is a systematic approach to managing all changes made to a product or system.

  • disaster recovery (DR)

    Disaster recovery (DR) is an organization's ability to respond to and recover from an event that affects business operations.

SearchStorage
  • JBOD (just a bunch of disks)

    JBOD, which stands for 'just a bunch of disks,' is a type of multilevel configuration for disks.

  • bare-metal restore

    A bare-metal restore (also referred to as bare-metal recovery or bare-metal backup) is a data recovery and restoration process ...

  • mSATA SSD (mSATA solid-state drive)

    An mSATA SSD is a solid-state drive (SSD) that conforms to the mSATA interface specification developed by the Serial ATA (SATA) ...

Close