The smallest part of an element or of a covalently bonded compound that can exist independently and still retain the ordinary chemical properties of that element or compound.

Making or breaking bonds in a molecule changes it into a new molecule.

Ionic compounds are not composed of molecules, because there is no distinct collection of ions that are chemically bound in the crystal.

See also: Absorption Spectrum, Functional Group, Intermolecular Forces, Intramolecular Forces, Ion Dipole Forces, Molecular Orbital, Molecular Weight, Orbital, Polyatomic Molecule.

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Subjects: Chemistry