How Are Elements Identified?

Elements are identified mainly through their atomic numbers, which are the number of protons present in an atom of an element. The periodic table gives each element with its atomic number and atomic weight. The atomic number is located at the top left corner of a specific element.

From the periodic table, the element carbon has the atomic number of six. So, carbon has six protons. Each element is also represented with a chemical symbol, which can be another way to identify any given element. Carbon has the chemical symbol "C."

Another way to identify elements is through spectroscopy, which is the study of how a substance's light disperses into component colors. Every element is associated with a unique light spectrum called a spectral line. Spectral lines are viewed through a diffraction grating.