If this is your first visit, be sure to
check out the FAQ by clicking the
link above. You may have to register
before you can post: click the register link above to proceed. To start viewing messages,
select the forum that you want to visit from the selection below.
It is both. Carbon is an element. One of the 118 or so currently known to man. When it is in fat and thus part of a molecule of fat (as in chemically bonded to other atoms - mostly hydrogen and oxygen) there are many carbon atoms in that fat molecule. "Atom" is a physical piece of matter. "Element" is a term used to describe matter that cannot be broken down into a simpler substance. So, dihydrogen monoxide (water) is not an element - since it can be broken down into atoms of hydrogen and oxygen - which are both elements.
Ok thanks. I know the difference between elements and atoms but I couldn't really figure out how a fat molecule is exactly constructed. I'm writing an essay for school. Is this sentence correct? Saturated fat is saturated because between every carbon atom is a bond which is saturated with a hydrogen atom
Fats are made up of fatty acid chains attached to a molecule of glycerol. The fatty acid chains are made up of hydrogen and carbon. Think of a carbon atom as having four arms. And a hydrogen atom as having only one. In fat the carbon forms a chain of carbons holding onto each other. In saturated fat, two of those arms will be holding onto the carbon atoms either side of it and the other two arms are holding onto a hydrogen atom each. The carbon cannot hold onto any more hydrogen. All the arms are being used.
In unsaturated fat, some of the carbon uses two hands to hold onto one of the other carbons next to it, and one hand for the other carbon. It has one hand remaining for a hydrogen atom. Therefore the carbon it is not saturated with hydrogen as it could hold more hydrogen if it wasn't using two hands for one of the bonds.
There's a good image of these bonds on this page here:
Is this sentence correct? Saturated fat is saturated because between every carbon atom is a bond which is saturated with a hydrogen atom
No, it's not correct. Saturated Fat is saturated because the carbon chain contains no double bonds (i.e. each carbon atom links to a neighbouring carbon only once). Mono-unsaturated fats have a single double bond (i.e. one of the carbon atoms is linked to the same neighbour twice). Poly-unsaturated fats have multiple double-bonds.
I think the OP was asking if the use of the term "atom" in his/her sentence was correct, which it is. As to the chemistry... I have no clue.
An atom is the smallest unit of matter, and since matter is made up of the different elements that exist, the term "atom" essentially refers to a single unit of a given element (what element it is specifically depends on the number of protons). Defining elements based on the number of protons is how we distinguish between the different ones (i.e. hydrogen has one proton, helium has two, etc...). Make sense?
A saturated bond between carbon and hydrogen does not readily react with any chemical entity other than oxygen via combustion.
An unsaturated bond on the other hand is far more reactive to various other chemical entities.
Yes, carbon in any compound is an atom or an element. The nature of the bonds that if forms in any molecule dictates its behaviour. The bonds are important.
An atom is not the smallest unit of matter. All but the smallest atoms consist of protons and neutrons in their nucleus with electrons whizzing around them in well-ordered quantum orbitals. Protons and neutrons have significant mass and electrons just a tiny mass. Beyond this, particle physics gets rather complicated and very theoretical.
But at the end of they day, we all have to draw a line somewhere and say look, I just don't need/want to know any more!
F 5 ft 3. HW: 196 lbs. Primal SW (May 2011): 182 lbs (42% BF)... W June '12: 160 lbs (29% BF) (UK size 12, US size 8). GW: ~24% BF - have ditched the scales til I fit into a pair of UK size 10 bootcut jeans. Currently aligning towards 'The Perfect Health Diet' having swapped some fat for potatoes.