Molecules. Structure and types

Would you like to know more about molecules, their structure and various types?

The online molecules simulations on this page illustrate in an interactive way how a molecule is constructed and what are its main characteristics.

A molecule is the smallest unit of a substance that still retains the chemical and physical properties of that substance. It is composed of two or more atoms that are bonded together by chemical bonds to form a stable structure.

The structure of a molecule can be linear, branched or three-dimensional, depending on how the atoms are bonded together. The arrangement of atoms in a molecule determines its physical and chemical properties, such as its melting point, boiling point, solubility, reactivity and polarity.

There are different types of molecules that can be classified according to their chemical composition and function.

Organic molecules. They are mainly composed of carbon, hydrogen and oxygen atoms, although they can also contain other elements such as nitrogen, phosphorus, sulfur and halogens. Examples of organic molecules include carbohydrates, lipids, proteins and nucleic acids.

Inorganic molecules. These are molecules that do not contain carbon and are generally simpler in structure than organic molecules. Examples of inorganic molecules include water (H2O), carbon dioxide (CO2), salts and minerals.

Biomolecules. These are molecules found in living things that perform essential functions in biological processes. Biomolecules include proteins, carbohydrates, lipids and nucleic acids.

Simple molecules. These are molecules composed of only one type of atom. Examples of simple molecules include oxygen (O2), nitrogen (N2) and chlorine (Cl2).

Complex molecules. These are molecules composed of two or more types of atoms. Examples of complex molecules include glucose (C6H12O6), hydrochloric acid (HCl) and ammonia (NH3).

Build a molecule


Starting from atoms, see how you can build many molecules. Gather your molecules and see them in 3D!
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Molecule shapes. Basics


Explore the shapes of the molecule by building molecules in 3D! Discover how the shape of a molecule changes as atoms are added to it.

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Molecule shapes


Explore molecular shapes by building 3D molecules! How does the molecular shape change with different numbers of bonds and electron pairs? Find out by adding single, double or triple bonds and lone pairs to the central atom, then compare the model with real molecules!

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Molecule polarity


When is a molecule polar? Change the electronegativity of the atoms in a molecule to see how it affects polarity. See how the molecule behaves in an electric field. Change the bond angle to see how it affects the polarity shape.

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