Each individual atom has a very small diameter - a typical atom has a diameter of between 1 x 10-10 and 5 x 10-10 m. In the same way that the kilometre (km) is used to describe distances longer than 1 metre, scientists use words to describe lengths smaller than 1 metre.
|Unit name||Unit symbol||Meaning|
|Millimetre||mm||1 x 10-3 m (0.001 m)|
|Micrometre||μm||1 x 10-6 m (0.000,001 m)|
|Nanometre||nm||1 x 10-9 m (0.000,000,001 m)|
A typical atom has a diameter of about 3 x 10-10 m. Express this diameter in nanometres (nm).
3 x 10-10 m is 0.3 nm
Diamond, graphite and buckyballs are all forms of the element carbon. This means that all three substances contain carbon atoms only. Although these substances only contain carbon atoms, they have different properties. For example:
The properties of a substance, therefore, are not the same as the properties of an individual atom. Instead, the properties of a substance depend on the way in which the atoms have been bonded together. These are called the bulk properties of a substance.