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A chemical compound is a chemical substance composed of many identical molecules (or molecular entities) composed of atoms from more than one element held together by chemical bonds. A molecule consisting of atoms of only one element is therefore not a compound.

There are four types of compounds, depending on how the constituent atoms are held together:

A chemical formula specifies the number of atoms of each element in a compound molecule, using the standard abbreviations for the chemical elements and numerical subscripts. For example, a water molecule has formula H2O indicating two hydrogen atoms bonded to one oxygen atom. Many chemical compounds have a unique CAS number identifier assigned by the Chemical Abstracts Service. Globally, more than 350,000 chemical compounds (including mixtures of chemicals) have been registered for production and use.[1]

A compound can be converted to a different chemical composition by interaction with a second chemical compound via a chemical reaction. In this process, bonds between atoms are broken in both of the interacting compounds, and new bonds formed.

2006-02-13 Drop-impact.jpg Water-3D-balls.png
Pure water (H2O) is an example of a compound: the ball-and-stick model of the molecule (above) shows the spatial association of two parts hydrogen (white) and one part(s) oxygen (red)