Chemistry help - molecules and particles

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spurs9393
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Hi, Im currently revising GCSE Chemistry and I've noticed that, when describing reactions, sometimes we use the word "molecule" whereas sometimes we call them "particles", eg CO2 is a molecule but Fe2O3 is a particle. What is the difference between them and when do we use one as opposed to the other?

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Chlorophile
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(Original post by spurs9393)
Hi, Im currently revising GCSE Chemistry and I've noticed that, when describing reactions, sometimes we use the word "molecule" whereas sometimes we call them "particles", eg CO2 is a molecule but Fe2O3 is a particle. What is the difference between them and when do we use one as opposed to the other?

Thanks
A molecule is an electrically neutral group of atoms held together by covalent bonds. So, for instance, CO2 is a molecule since it only has covalent bonds but Fe2O3 isn't since its bonding is (sort of) ionic. So it's technically incorrect to call a group of atoms a molecule when there's ionic or metallic bonding.

A particle is just a name given to something very small to be used in a model. Chemically, it's not a particularly brilliant word to use but it's used a lot in things like kinetic theory to describe the motion of gasses, etc. A particle could in theory be anything as long as it's made of discrete bits.

In general, I wouldn't use the world particle unless the actual nature of those particles is less important, for instance in kinetic theory.
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