Another way of thinking about this is to understand that atoms lose their individual identities when they become parts of molecules. Sodium by itself reacts violently in contact with water. Chlorine is a poisonous gas. When a sodium atom and chlorine atom combine, however, they form a molecule of sodium chloride, also known as table salt.
Answered by: Paul Walorski, B.A., Part-time Physics/Astronomy Instructor
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