The Table that defines chemistry turns 150
Headline : The Table that defines chemistry turns 150
- 2019 is celebrated as ‘The International Year of the Periodic Table of Chemical Elements’ as the Period Table of Elements has turned 150 years in 2019.
Periodic Table of Elements: A backgrounder
- The ‘Periodic Table of Elements’ was written by Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev on in 1869.
- While there were other efforts to classify elements, Mendeleev was unique in that he was the first one to propound a ‘law of periodicity of elements’.
- According to Mendeleev’s law of periodicity, ‘elements, if arranged according to their atomic weights, exhibit an evident periodicity of properties’.
- Currently, the modern periodic table has 118 elements, compared to 63 in Mendeleev’s version.
- Out of 118 elements, 100 are naturally occurring and 18 and artificially produced.
- While Mendeleev’s law put emphasis on ‘atomic weight’ to classify elements, modern periodic law classifies elements based on periodicity of their properties in accordance with their ‘atomic number’.
- In recognition of his achievement, Mendeleev has found a place in the periodic table in the form of an element 101 named as Mendelevium (Md).
Basics of Periodic Table
- Each chemical element is made of a specific type of atom.
- Each specific atom has a characteristic number of protons in its nucleus which defines the atomic number for that particular element.
- Elements in the periodic table are arranged in the increasing order of their atomic number.
Position of Elements in the Periodic Table (See figure below)
- The elements in the periodic table are classified into ‘groups’.
- ‘Groups’ are the vertical columns in the periodic table.
- There 18 such ‘groups’ in the periodic table.
- Elements in the same group have similar chemical properties.
Alkali Metals (Group 1)
- Alkali Metals are elements found in ‘group 1’ except hydrogen.
- Hydrogen is an exception in group 1 and is a non-metal.
- Alkali Metals are soft, silvery metals that are very reactive.
- Therefore, they not found in pure form in nature and often found in combination with other elements.
- All alkali metals react with water.
Alkaline Earth Metals (Group 2)
- Alkaline Earth Metals are found in group 2.
- Alkaline earth metals are also reactive and thus not found in pure form in nature.
- However they are not as reactive as alkali metals in group 1.
Metals (Groups 3 to 12)
- Elements in groups 3 to 12 are classified as metals in general.
- Metals are solids at room temperature except for mercury (Hg) which is a liquid at room temperature.
- Metals are very malleable which means they are not brittle and thus can be worked into different shapes.
- Metals are also ductile which means they can be formed into wires.
- Further metals are good conductors of heat and electricity.
- Non-metals in general are found in different states of matter in nature.
- Solid non-metals are brittle unlike metals.
- Non-metals are poor conductors of heat and electricity.
Halogens (Group 17)
- One type of non-metals are halogens found in group 17 in the periodic table.
- Halogens are very reactive non-metals and ‘salt formers’ and hence the name.
- They are usually very corrosive.
Nobel Gases (Group 18)
- Nobel gases are found in group 18 of the periodic table.
- They are colorless gases and generally very unreactive and thus very stable in nature.
- The zig-zag line shown in the figure divides the metals from non-metals in the periodic table.
- However some of the elements on the zig-zag line exhibit properties in between metals and non-metals and are called metalloids.
- Boron, Silicon, Germanium, Arsenic, Antimony, Tellurium are some of the famous metalloids.
- Silicon is the most famous metalloid because of its semiconducting properties.
- A ‘period’ is a horizontal row in the periodic table.
- There are 7 such ‘periods’ in the periodic table.
- The elements in the periods are arranged based on their electron configuration.
- Elements of the same period have the same number of electron shells.
- Elements in Period 1 has its electrons arranged in one shell, those in Period 2 in 2 electron shells, 3 shells in period 3 and so on and so forth.
Note to students: This comes under basic science part of the syllabus. a detailed note is provided considering the significance of the year.Section : Science & Tech