A network study of chemical relations: From elements to polynary compounds

Guoyong Mao, Runzhan Liu and Ning Zhang

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The chemical compounds are composed of elements of different numbers. So far, more than 100 million compounds made up of 103 elements have been discovered. The aim of this study is to investigate the relation between compounds that have different number of elements. Using compounds extracted from a famous website (ignoring the stoichiometric of elements), we found that for compounds with n elements, n-1 elements in this compound can form at least one compound that has n-1 elements, suggesting that compounds with lower number of elements are foundations of compounds with a greater number of elements and compounds with more elements are partly originated from compounds with lower number of elements. Based on this relation, we build an evolution network that contains 100 elements and 99% of all existing polynary compounds. The analysis result indicates that we can use this network to predict some potential chemical compounds, to find cores of network and to get the evolution mechanism of elements, thus provides a new angle to study chemistry.