Chemical Element Pictures - Photo Gallery

Most of the chemical elements you encounter every day are combined with other elements to form compounds. Here's a gallery of pictures of the pure elements, so you can see what they look like.

The elements are listed in the order in which they appear in the periodic table; the first elements have the lowest atomic number, which increases through the table. Toward the end of the periodic table, there aren't any images of elements. Some are so rare only a few atoms have ever been produced, plus they are highly radioactive, so they often vanish an instant after creation. Yet, many elements are stable. Here's your chance to get to know them.

Índice temático
  1. Hydrogen - Element 1
  2. Helium - Element 2
  3. Lithium - Element 3
  4. Beryllium - Element 4
  5. Boron - Element 5
  6. Carbon - Element #6
  7. Nitrogen - Element 7
  8. Oxygen - Element #8
  9. Fluorine - Element 9
  10. Neon - Element 10
  11. Sodium - Element 11
  12. Magnesium - Element 12
  13. Aluminum - Element 13
  14. Silicon - Element 14
  15. Phosphorus - Element 15
  16. Sulfur - Element 16
  17. Chlorine - Element 17
  18. Argon - Element 18
  19. Potassium - Element 19
  20. Calcium - Element 20
  21. Scandium - Element 21
  22. Titanium - Element 22
  23. Vanadium - Element 23
  24. Chromium - Element 24
  25. Manganese - Element 25
  26. Iron - Element 26
  27. Cobalt - Element 27
  28. Nickel - Element 28
  29. Copper - Element 29
  30. Zinc - Element 30
  31. Gallium - Element 31
  32. Germanium - Element 32
  33. Arsenic - Element 33
  34. Selenium - Element 34
  35. Bromine - Element 35
  36. Krypton - Element 36
  37. Rubidium - Element 37
  38. Strontium - Element 38
  39. Yttrium - Element 39
  40. Zirconium - Element 40
  41. Niobium - Element 41
  42. Molybdenum - Element 42
  43. Ruthenium - Element 44
  44. Rhodium - Element 45
  45. Silver - Element 47
  46. Cadmium - Element 48
  47. Indium - Element 49
  48. Tin - Element 50
  49. Tellurium - Element 52
  50. Iodine - Element 53
  51. Xenon - Element 54
  52. Europium - Element 63
  53. Thulium - Element 69
  54. Lutetium - Element 71
  55. Tantalum - Element 73
  56. Tungsten - Element 74
  57. Osmium - Element 76
  58. Platinum - Element 78
  59. Gold - Element 79
  60. Mercury - Element 80
  61. Thallium - Element 81
  62. Lead - Element 82
  63. Bismuth - Element 83
  64. Uranium - Element 92
  65. Plutonium - Element 94

Hydrogen - Element 1


Stars and this nebula consist mainly of the element hydrogen.
NASA/CXC/ASU/J. Hester et al., HST/ASU/J. Hester et al.

Hydrogen is the first element on the periodic table, with 1 proton per atom. It's the most abundant element in the universe. If you look at the Sun, you're mostly looking at hydrogen. Its usual ionization color is sort of a purplish-blue. On Earth, it's a transparent gas, which isn't really worth a picture.

Helium - Element 2

Vuerqex / Public Domain


Helium is the second element on the periodic table and the second most abundant element in the universe. On Earth, it's normally a transparent gas. It can be cooled into a transparent liquid, sort of resembling water, except much, much colder. It ionizes into a reddish orange glowing gas.

Lithium - Element 3


Lithium in oil.
W. Oelen

Lithium is the third element on the periodic table. This lightweight metal would float on water, but then it would react and burn. The metal oxidizes black in the air. You aren't likely to encounter it in its pure form because it is so reactive.

Beryllium - Element 4


Chinese folding glasses with beryllium lenses, China, mid-18th century.
De Agostini / A. Dagli Orti / Getty Images

The fourth element beryllium. This element is a glossy metal, usually dark from an oxide layer formed by its reaction with air.

Boron - Element 5


Chunks of elemental boron.
James L Marshall

Boron a shiny black metalloid, which means it possesses properties of both metals and nonmetals. Although it can be prepared in a lab, the element does not exist free in nature. It's found in compounds, such as borax.

Carbon - Element #6


The allotropes of carbon, from top: unrefined charcoal, refined charcoal, pressed charcoal, diamonds, and graphite.
Dave King / Getty Images

Most elements can take many forms, called allotropes. Carbon is one of the few elements you can see in daily life as different allotropes. They look quite different from each other and they have distinct properties. Carbon is also important because it's the elemental basis of all organic compounds.

Nitrogen - Element 7


This is the glow given off by ionized nitrogen in a gas discharge tube.

Jurii / Creative Commons


Pure nitrogen is a transparent gas. It forms a transparent liquid and a clear solid that looks much like water ice. However, it's quite colorful as an ionized gas, emitting a blue-violet glow.

Oxygen - Element #8


Liquid oxygen in an unsilvered dewar flask.

Warwick Hillier / Australia National University, Canberra


Pure oxygen is a transparent gas which makes up about 20% of the Earth's atmosphere. It forms a blue liquid. The solid form of the element is even more colorful. Depending on the conditions, it may be blue, red, yellow, orange, or even metallic black! 

Fluorine - Element 9


Liquid fluorine.
Prof B. G. Mueller

Fluorine does not occur free in nature, but it can be prepared as a yellowish gas. It cools into a yellow liquid.

Neon - Element 10


This is a photo of a glowing discharge tube filled with neon.
Jurii, Wikipedia Commons

Neon is the first noble gas on the periodic table. The element neon is best known by its reddish orange glow when the element is ionized. Ordinarily, it is a colorless gas.

Sodium - Element 11


Sodium is a soft, silvery reactive metal.

Dnn87 / Creative Commons License


Sodium, like lithium, is a highly reactive metal that will burn in water. The element doesn't occur naturally in pure form, but it's fairly common in science labs. The soft, shiny metal is stored under oil to protect it from oxidation.

Magnesium - Element 12


These are crystals of the pure element magnesium.
Warut Roonguthai

Magnesium is an alkaline earth metal. This reactive metal is used in fireworks. It burns hot enough it can be used to ignite other metals, as in the thermite reaction. 

Aluminum - Element 13


Crumpled aluminum foil is a pure form of this common metallic element.

Andy Crawford / Getty Images


Aluminum is a metallic element you often encounter in its pure form, although it requires purification from its ore or else recycling to get it that way. 

Silicon - Element 14


This is a photograph of a piece of pure elemental silicon. Silicon is a crystalline metalloid element. Pure silicon is reflective with a dark bluish tinge.

Enricoros / Public Domain


Silicon, like boron, is a metalloid. This element is found in nearly pure form in silicon chips. More commonly, you encounter this element as its oxide in quartz. Although it looks glossy and somewhat metallic, it's too brittle to work like true metals.

Phosphorus - Element 15


The allotropes of phosphorus from left: white phosphorus (yellow cut), red phosphorus, violet phosphorus, and black phosphorus.

BXXXD, Tomihahndorf, Maksim / Materialscientist (Free Documentation License)


Like carbon, phosphorus is a nonmetal that can take any of multiple forms. White phosphorus is deadly toxic and reacts with air to glow green. Red phosphorus is used in safety matches.

Sulfur - Element 16


This picture shows a crystal of pure sulfur.
DEA/A.RIZZI / Getty Images

Sulfur is a nonmetal that can be found in pure form, mostly around volcanoes. The solid element has a distinctive yellow color, but it's red in liquid form. 

Chlorine - Element 17


Chlorine gas will condense into a liquid if chilled using dry ice.
Andy Crawford and Tim Ridley / Getty Images

Pure chlorine gas is a noxious greenish-yellow color. The liquid is bright yellow. Like the other halogen elements, it readily reacts to form compounds. While the element can kill you in pure form, it's essential for life. Most of the body's chlorine is ingested as table salt, which is sodium chloride.

Argon - Element 18


This is a 2 cm piece of melting argon ice.
Deglr6328, Free Documentation License

Pure argon gas is transparent. The liquid and solid forms are also colorless. Yet, excited argon ions glow brightly. Argon is used to make lasers, which may be tuned to green, blue, or other colors.

Potassium - Element 19


Like all alkali metals, potassium reacts vigorously in water.

Dorling Kindersley / Getty Images


The alkali metal potassium burns in water, like sodium and lithium, except even more vigorously. This element is one of the ones essential for life.

Calcium - Element 20


Calcium is an alkaline earth metal that oxidizes in air.

Tomihahndorf / Creative Commons License


Calcium is one of the alkaline earth metals. It darkens or oxidizes in air. It is the 5th most abundant element in the body and the most abundant metal.

Scandium - Element 21


These are samples of high purity scandium metal.
Alchemist-hp

Scandium is a lightweight, relatively soft metal. The silver metal develops a yellow or pink tint after exposure to air. The element is used in the production of high intensity lamps.

Titanium - Element 22


This is a bar of high-purity titanium crystals.
Alchemist-hp

Titanium is a light and strong metal used in aircraft and human implants. Titanium powder burns in air and has the distinction of being the only element that burns in nitrogen.

Vanadium - Element 23


This picture shows high purity vanadium in different stages of oxidation.
Alchemist-HP

Vanadium is a shiny gray metal when it's fresh, but it oxidizes in air. The colorful oxidation layer protects the underlying metal from further attack. The element also forms different colored compounds.

Chromium - Element 24


These are crystals of pure elemental chromium metal.
Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Chromium is a hard, corrosion-resistant transition metal. One interesting fact about this element is that the 3+ oxidation state is essential for human nutrition, while the 6+ state (hexavalent chromium) is deadly toxic. 

Manganese - Element 25


Mineral nodules of impure manganese metal.
Penny Tweedie / Getty Images

Manganese is a hard, brittle gray transition metal. It's found in alloys and is essential for nutrition, although toxic in high amounts.

Iron - Element 26


This is a photograph of various forms of high-purity elemental iron.

Alchemist-hp / Creative Commons License


Iron is one of the elements you can encounter in pure form in daily life. Cast iron skillets are made of the metal. In pure form, iron is a blue-gray color. It darkens with exposure to air or water.

Cobalt - Element 27


Cobalt is a hard, silvery-gray metal.

Alchemist-hp / Creative Commons License


Cobalt is a brittle, hard metal with an appearance similar to that of iron.

Nickel - Element 28


These are spheres of pure nickel metal.
John Cancalosi / Getty Images

Nickel is a hard, silver metal that can take a high polish. It's found in steel and other alloys. Although it is a common element, it's considered toxic.

Copper - Element 29


This is a sample of native pure copper from Bolivia, South America.
John Cancalosi / Getty Images

Copper is one of the elements you encounter in pure form in daily life in copper cookware and wire. This element also occurs in its native state in nature, meaning you can find copper crystals and chunks. More commonly, it's found with other elements in minerals.

Zinc - Element 30


Zinc is a shiny, corrosion-resistant metal.

Bars Muratoglu / Getty Images


Zinc is a useful metal, found in numerous alloys. It's used to galvanize other metals to protect them from corrosion. This metal is essential for human and animal nutrition.

Gallium - Element 31


Pure gallium has a bright silver color.

Foobar / wikipedia.org


Gallium is considered a basic metal. While mercury is the only liquid metal at room temperature, gallium will melt in the heat of your hand. Even though the element forms crystals, they tend to have a wet, partially melted appearance because of the metal's low melting point.

Germanium - Element 32


Germanium is a hard and lustrous metalloid or semimetal.
Jurii

Germanium is a metalloid with an appearance similar to that of silicon. It's hard, shiny, and metallic in appearance. The element is used as a semiconductor and for fiberoptics.

Arsenic - Element 33


The gray form of arsenic may take the form of interesting-looking nodules.
Harry Taylor / Getty Images

Arsenic is a poisonous metalloid. It sometimes occurs in the native state. Like other metalloids, it takes multiple forms. The pure element may be a gray, black, yellow, or metallic solid at room temperature.

Selenium - Element 34


Like many nonmetals, pure selenium exists in markedly different forms.

W. Oelen / Creative Commons


You can find the element selenium in dandruff-control shampoos and some types of photographic toner, but it's not commonly encountered in pure form. Selenium is a solid at room temperature and takes red, gray, and metallic-looking black forms. They gray allotrope is most common.

Bromine - Element 35


This is a picture of the element bromine in a vial encased in a block of acrylic.

Alchemist-hp / Creative Commons License


Bromine is a halogen that is a liquid at room temperature. The liquid is deep reddish-brown and vaporizes into an orange-brown gas.

Krypton - Element 36


This is a photo of the element krypton in a gas discharge tube.
Alchemist-hp

Krypton is one of the noble gases. A picture of krypton gas would be pretty boring, because it basically looks like air (which is to say, it's colorless and transparent). Like other noble gases, it lights up colorfully when ionized. Solid krypton is white.

Rubidium - Element 37


This is a sample of pure liquid rubidium metal.
Dnn87, Free Documentation License

Rubidium is a silver-colored alkali metal. Its melting point is only slightly higher than room temperature, so it may be observed as a liquid or soft solid. However, it's not a pure element you'd want to handle, since it ignites in air and water, burning with a red flame.

Strontium - Element 38


These are crystals of the pure element strontium.
Alchemist-HP

Strontium is a soft, silver alkaline earth metal that develops a yellowish oxidation layer. You probably won't ever see this element in its pure form except in pictures, but it's used in fireworks and emergency flares for the bright red color it adds to flames.

Yttrium - Element 39


Yttrium is a silvery metal.
Alchemist-hp

Yttrium is a silver-colored metal. It's fairly stable in air, although it will eventually darken. This transition metal is not found free in nature.

Zirconium - Element 40


Zirconium is a gray transition metal.
Alchemist-hp

Zirconium is a lustrous gray metal. It's known for its low neutron absorption cross-section, so it's an important element in nuclear reactors. The metal is also known for its high corrosion resistance.

Niobium - Element 41


Niobium is a bright silver metal that develops a metallic blue color over time in air.
Alchemist-hp

Fresh, pure niobium is a bright platinum-white metal, but after exposure in the air it develops a blue cast. The element is not found free in nature. It's usually associated with the metal tantalum.

Molybdenum - Element 42


These are examples of pure molybdenum metal.
Alchemist-hp

Molybdenum is a silvery-white metal belonging to the chromium family. This element is not found free in nature. Only the elements tungsten and tantalum have higher melting points. The metal is hard and tough.

Ruthenium - Element 44


Ruthenium is a very hard, silver-white transition metal.
Periodictableru

Ruthenium is another hard white transition metal. It belongs to the platinum family. Like other elements in this group, it resists corrosion. This is good, because its oxide has a tendency to explode in air!

Rhodium - Element 45


These are different forms of pure elemental rhodium.
Alchemist-HP

Rhodium is a silvery transition metal. Its primary use is as a hardening agent for softer metals, such as platinum and palladium. This corrosion-resistant element is also considered a noble metal, like silver and gold.

Silver - Element 47


This is a crystal of pure silver metal.
Gary Ombler / Getty Images

Silver is a silver-colored metal (hence the name). It forms a black oxide layer called tarnish. While you may be familiar with the appearance of silver metal, you might not realize the element also forms beautiful crystals.

Cadmium - Element 48


This is a photo of a cadmium crystal bar and a cube of cadmium metal.
Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Cadmium is a soft, blue-white metal. It's primarily used in soft and low melting point alloys. The element and its compounds are toxic.

Indium - Element 49


Indium is an extremely soft, silver-white metal.
Nerdtalker

Indium is a post-transition metallic element that has more in common with the metalloids than with the transition metals. It is very soft with a silver metallic luster. One of its interesting properties is that the metal wets glass, making it an excellent material for making mirrors.

Tin - Element 50


This image shows the two allotropes of the element tin, white and grey tin.
Alchemist-HP

You are familiar with the shiny metallic form of tin from tin cans, but colder temperatures change the allotrope of the element into gray tin, which doesn't behave like a metal. Tin is commonly applied over other metals to help protect them from corrosion.

Tellurium - Element 52


This is a picture of pure tellurium metal. The sample is 3.5 cm across.

Tellurium one of the metalloids or semimetals. It occurs in either a shiny gray crystalline form or else a brownish-black amorphous state.

Iodine - Element 53


At room temperature and pressure, iodine occurs as either a violet solid or vapor.
Matt Meadows / Getty Images

Iodine is another element that displays a distinctive color. You might encounter it in a science lab as a violet vapor or as a shiny blue-black solid. The liquid does not occur at normal pressure.

Xenon - Element 54


This is a sample of pure liquid xenon.
Rasiel Suarez on behalf of Luciteria LLC

The noble gas xenon is a colorless gas under ordinary conditions. Under pressure, it may be liquefied into a transparent liquid. When ionized, the vapor emits pale blue light.

Europium - Element 63


This is a photo of pure europium.
Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Europium is a silver metal with a slight yellow tint, but it oxidizes instantly in air or water. This rare earth element actually is rare, at least in the universe where it's estimated to have an abundance of 5 x 10-8 percent of matter. Its compounds are phosphorescent.

Thulium - Element 69


This is a picture of forms of elemental thulium.
Alchemist-hp, Creative Commons License

Thulium is the rarest of the rare earths (which are actually fairly abundant overall). Because of this, there aren't many uses for this element. It's not toxic, but doesn't serve any known biological function.

Lutetium - Element 71


Lutetium, like other rare earth elements, does not occur in pure form in nature.

Alchemist-hp / Creative Commons License


Lutetium is a soft, silvery rare earth metal. This element does not occur free in nature. It's used primarily for catalysts in the petroleum industry.

Tantalum - Element 73


Tantalum is a lustrous blue-gray transition metal.
Alchemist-hp

Tantalum is a shiny blue-gray metal often found in association with the element niobium (located right above it on the periodic table). Tantalum is highly resistant to chemical attack, although it is affected by hydrofluoric acid. The element has an extremely high melting point.

Tungsten - Element 74


Tungsten is a brittle metal, though it has an extremely high tensile strength.
Alchemist-hp

Tungsten is a strong, silver-colored metal. This is the element with the highest melting point. At high temperatures, a colorful oxidation layer can form over the metal.

Osmium - Element 76


Osmium is a brittle and hard blue-black transition metal. This cluster of osmium crystals was grown using chemical vapor transport.
Periodictableru

Osmium is a hard, shiny transition metal. Under most conditions, it is the element with the highest density (about twice as heavy as lead).

Platinum - Element 78


Platinum is a dense, grayish-white transition metal.
Periodictableru, Creative Commons License

The metal platinum is seen in relatively pure form in high-end jewelry. The metal is heavy, fairly soft, and corrosion resistant.

Gold - Element 79


This is a nugget of pure gold.
Harry Taylor / Getty Images

Element 79 is the precious metal, gold. Gold is known by its distinctive color. This element, along with copper, are the only two non-silvery metals, although it is suspected some of the new elements may display colors (if enough is ever produced to see them).

Mercury - Element 80


Mercury is the only metal that is a liquid at room temperature and pressure.
Harry Taylor / Getty Images

Mercury also goes by the name quicksilver. This silver-colored metal that is a liquid at room temperature and pressure. You may be wondering what mercury looks like when it is solid. Well, if you place a bit of mercury in liquid nitrogen, it will solidify into a gray metal that resembles tin.

Thallium - Element 81


These are chunks of pure thallium sealed in an ampoule with argon gas.
W. Oelen

Thallium is a soft, heavy post-transition metal. The metal resembles tin when it's fresh, but discolors to blue-gray upon exposure to air. The element is soft enough to cut with a knife.

Lead - Element 82


Lead darkens in air, although the pure metal is silver-colored.
Alchemist-hp

Element 82 is lead, a soft, heavy metal best known for its ability to shield against x-rays and other radiation. The element is toxic, yet common.

Bismuth - Element 83


The crystal structure of the metal bismuth is as beautiful as the oxide layer that forms on it.
Kerstin Waurick / Getty Images

Pure bismuth is a silver-gray metal, sometimes with a faint pink tinge. However, this element readily oxidizes into a rainbow array of colors.

Uranium - Element 92


This is a lump of uranium metal recovered from a Titan II missile.

Martin Marietta; Roger Ressmeyer/Corbis/VCG / Getty Images


Uranium is a heavy, radioactive metal belonging to the actinide group. In pure form, it's a silver-gray metal, able to take a high polish, but it accumulates a dull oxidation layer after exposure to air.

Plutonium - Element 94


Plutonium is a silvery-white radioactive metal.
U.S. Department of Energy

Plutonium is a heavy radioactive metal. When fresh, the pure metal is shiny and silver. It develops a yellowish oxidation layer after exposure to air. It's unlikely you'll ever get a chance to view this element in person, but if you do, turn out the lights. The metal appears to glow red.

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