From Latin elementum, a element is a chemical or physical principle that is part of the composition of a body . For ancient philosophy, there were four elements that assumed the immediate fundamental principles for the constitution of bodies: the air , he Water , the land and the fire.

The existence of these four essential elements was postulated by the Greeks. For the Chinese, on the other hand, the elements were five: water, earth, fire, wood and metal. It is worth mentioning that traditional Chinese philosophy understands them as types of Energy in constant interaction.

In other ways, the element is known as the integral part of something at piece that form a structure and the components of a human grouping. For example: "The CPU is the central element of a computer", “My work team consists of four basic elements: the hammer, the screwdriver, the nails and the screws”, "The police have detected the actions of subversive elements within the public university".

An element is, on the other hand, a individual which is valued positively or negatively for the development of a joint action: "Gomez is one of the most important elements in our team game", “This man is a bad element that always generates problems in the office”.

A chemical element It is usually defined as the substance that cannot be decomposed into a simpler one by means of a chemical reaction. The term refers, on the other hand, to the class of atoms that have the same number of protons in their nucleus.

Within the field of chemistry, there is a model of organization of known elements called periodic table; it consists of more than 118, ordered according to their atomic weight. With respect to the origin of each chemical element, some were found in nature, as parts of simple substances or compounds, while others were developed artificially with the help of a particle accelerator or an atomic reactor, in which case they have an instability such that they can only exist for a small fraction of a second.

While there are different ways of sort out the chemical elements, the distinction between metals and nonmetals is the fundamental one. Among these groups numerous differences are noticed, both in their chemical and physical properties, and some of them are detailed below.

The metals:

* they have a low ionization potential and their specific weight is high;
* usually have between one and three electrons at its last energy level;
* except for mercury, gallium, cesium and francium, they are all solid;
* They look very bright;
* they conduct heat and electricity very well;
* they are malleable and ductile;
* when they lose electrons, they oxidize;
* only one atom forms its molecule, and when its crystalline structure binds with oxygen it generates oxides, which form water when they react with water;
* alkaline type show more activity;


* they tend to gain electrons;
* they have a high ionization potential and their weight specific is low;
* with exceptions, they have between four and seven electrons in their last energy level;
* they exist in the three physical phases of aggregation;
* its appearance is not bright;
* its performance in the conduction of electricity and heat is very poor;
* they are not malleable or ductile;
* through the gain of electrons, they are reduced;
* a minimum of two atoms form their molecules;
* when they bind with oxygen they generate anhydrides, which produce oxyacids through a reaction with water;
* the most active are oxygen and halogens;
* many of them have allotropy, a property that allows certain elements to have different chemical structures (oxygen, for example, can be presented as O2, atmospheric oxygen, or as O3, ozone).