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Thread: Making sense of the Periodic Table -Help?

  1. #1 Making sense of the Periodic Table -Help? 
    Forum Freshman asxz's Avatar
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    Okay, so I'm trying to get familiar with the periodic table, and I know the places of many elements by now, and their relative atomic numbers. But what does it mean? I mean, what does the periodic table tell you about the element apart from the number of protons, electron and neutrons?

    What could you tell about the element Hafnium from it place on the periodic table, for example? Could you say if it was a good electrical insulator/conductor. What else could you figure out from this position?

    I know that Platinum, gold, silver, copper, nickel and Zinc are all good electrical conductors, and they are all similar in placing on the periodic table. Is there a certain guide, or way to tell what a chemical element will do just by looking at it's place on the periodic table? If so, could you please show me what properties the relative groups have?

    -Thanks!


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    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    I think terms like Alkali Metals and Inert Gases already give a clue. Recall how the periodic table came about. The similarities of behaviour and properties were observed first. The grouping followed.

    There are numerous internet sites that provide the sort of information you are looking for. Here are some of them.

    http://www.chemicalelements.com/index.html
    http://www.modelscience.com/PeriodicTable.html
    http://www.chemicool.com/
    http://www.periodic-table.org.uk/

    Each of these has a slightly different take on presenting the information. I recommend studying each site and noting down their comments on the various groups. Try to understand why their electron shell structure gives them their particular properties.


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    Group 1 and 2 are both Alkali Earth metals. Group 1 reaction increses as you move down the periods. For example Na(Sodium) is less reactive than Cs(Caesium). All group 3 are transition metals which conduct electricity. Group 4 elements take the most energy to form ions. Group 7 elements are the halogens. Group 7 reaction increses as you move up the periods. For example I(Iodine) is less reactive than Cl(Chlorine). Group 8 or 0 (depending on version of periodic table) are noble gases which are inert on their own.
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    Forum Professor marcusclayman's Avatar
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    Interesting. Thanks for the links John.
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    Quote Originally Posted by settra12
    All group 3 are transition metals which conduct electricity.
    I trust that you mean group IIIB, rather than IIIA which are by no means transition metals.
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    Yes, the Periodic Table is used to find physical properties as well as atomic numbers

    http://www.webelements.com/

    Columns 1 and 2 have 1 or 2 electrons in their outer shell, so we know they will be the most reactive of all the elements, we also know the futher down those colums you go, the more reactive they get, each successive element has an extra shell, meaning the reactive electrons on the outside are held less tightly and become more reactive

    Column 18 have a full outer shell and are very unreactive (full shell = no need to react) hence the nickname 'noble gasses' -I think they can pretty much only be made to react with human intervention, don't think it happens naturally but I may be wrong)

    Column 16 are missing 2 electrons from the outer shell, as a result they go round in pairs sharing 2 electrons in a double bond (O2, S2 etc), I was taught to remember them as 'gay gasses'


    there are plenty more for different groups, but I've forgotten them,
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    When you go along (left to right) the periodic table, the atoms of each element generally tend to get smaller. Because as the number of protons increases the charge of the nucleus becomes more positive. As we know there is a natural attraction that exists between negative and positive particles and so the electron levels of the atom is pulled in.

    When you travel down the periodic table, the atoms of each element generally tend to get bigger. Because the addition of octets (full energy levels, usually with 8 or 32 electrons) creates a kind of shielding effect that shields the electrons from the attraction of the positively charged nucleus.

    Other trends include electronegativity: the general attraction atoms have for electrons shared in a covalent bond.

    Melting points and boiling points, and thus the strength of inter and intra-molecular forces.

    The periodic table also shows us the weights of one mole of elements.

    To put it short the periodic table is awesome....
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  9. #8 Re: Making sense of the Periodic Table -Help? 
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    Quote Originally Posted by asxz
    Okay, so I'm trying to get familiar with the periodic table, and I know the places of many elements by now, and their relative atomic numbers. But what does it mean? I mean, what does the periodic table tell you about the element apart from the number of protons, electron and neutrons?

    What could you tell about the element Hafnium from it place on the periodic table, for example? Could you say if it was a good electrical insulator/conductor. What else could you figure out from this position?

    I know that Platinum, gold, silver, copper, nickel and Zinc are all good electrical conductors, and they are all similar in placing on the periodic table. Is there a certain guide, or way to tell what a chemical element will do just by looking at it's place on the periodic table? If so, could you please show me what properties the relative groups have?

    -Thanks!
    Hello,

    The way you use the periodic table will depend greatly on the area of chemistry that you decide to go into - if you decide to go into chemistry - the meaning of the information of course doesn't change but the way that you use it will vary depending on what you're trying to do....
    This information is referred to collectively as periodic trends...

    This is a very good place to start - http://www.geocities.com/capecanaver...dictrends.html

    if you need more info just ask.
    hope this helps...
    Good luck
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    Quote Originally Posted by Booms
    Column 18 have a full outer shell and are very unreactive (full shell = no need to react) hence the nickname 'noble gasses' -I think they can pretty much only be made to react with human intervention, don't think it happens naturally but I may be wrong)
    The rule that reactivity increases going down a column also applies here. For example, there are no known helium compounds (I believe?). However, argon forms some very unstable compounds such as Argon fluorohydride, which can only exist around temperatures of 10K and cooler and requires UV radiation to form. Heavier noble gases such as xenon and radon actually form compounds regularly enough that my periodic table lists them as having oxidation states other than 0.
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  11. #10  
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    Here try this http://www.ptable.com/
    Have fun

    Just click on the element or topic
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    Ignore the big block in the middle, eveything is trying to get 8 electrons, then it will
    be happy (stable), the closer it gets to 8 the more reacive it is untill it makes 8.
    Hence a 1 and a 7 are highly reactive, 2 and 6 less so, 4 & 4 are not too fussed but will react a bit.
    Generally as you go down the table things are less reactive as they already have a few shells of 8 to keep em happy.

    That's about it really.

    don't worry about the stuff in the middle they don't have much chemistry apart from rust (oxides).

    That the whole of chemistry basically learn that and you know the lot!!
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  13. #12  
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    Gee , I didn't realize chemisrty is so simple, why did I learn all that other crap over 40 years? must have been a waste of time, oh well.
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    Presumably you got paid?
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    Quote Originally Posted by esbo
    don't worry about the stuff in the middle they don't have much chemistry apart from rust (oxides).
    I'm an inorganic chemist, you insensitive clod!
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    Quote Originally Posted by fizzlooney
    Gee , I didn't realize chemisrty is so simple, why did I learn all that other crap over 40 years? must have been a waste of time, oh well.
    You don't need to learn anything, one you know the electron shells of a chemical you can work out everything, well I could anyway

    A bit like maths really, you just need to know addition and everything else plops out

    Simples
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    In Which case I beg you to tell me how palladium reacts in a C-H activation reaction in the presence of pivalic acid and two arenes..... you know all the atomic numbers and how the electrons are arranged. Be my guest!
    Chemistry is everything!
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  18. #17  
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    Quote Originally Posted by esbo
    You don't need to learn anything, one you know the electron shells of a chemical you can work out everything, well I could anyway
    Hahaha. Good luck using "electron shells" to figure out how to actually do anything in a lab/chemical plant/whatever. Like, say, synthesize a molecule.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Luka
    In Which case I beg you to tell me how palladium reacts in a C-H activation reaction in the presence of pivalic acid and two arenes..... you know all the atomic numbers and how the electrons are arranged. Be my guest!
    Didn't you hear? Palladium is one of those elements in the middle that only rusts. It's not like we use metals for, oh, making every single fucking product that's manufactured.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    I'm an inorganic chemist, you insensitive clod!
    Hmm, I'm considering going into that field of study after I graduate high school. So far all I've taken is your standard high school chemistry course, but it was by far the best thing I've ever taken in school and I've continued studying it just for fun. It's a rather vague question, but can you tell me what this field of study is like? I'd appreciate any advice you could give me. Inorganic chemistry was so much fun for me.

    Quote Originally Posted by esbo
    You don't need to learn anything, one you know the electron shells of a chemical you can work out everything, well I could anyway
    This works for high school chemistry, and that's about it. It has no practical applications at all, but it could probably get you pretty far in the course. Don't think you can use this anywhere outside the classroom though.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadow
    Hmm, I'm considering going into that field of study after I graduate high school. So far all I've taken is your standard high school chemistry course, but it was by far the best thing I've ever taken in school and I've continued studying it just for fun. It's a rather vague question, but can you tell me what this field of study is like? I'd appreciate any advice you could give me. Inorganic chemistry was so much fun for me.
    Well, obviously I think it's fun...but it's definitely not for everyone. There's a huge range of stuff that it's applicable to. Personally I'm more into materials, but its useful for everything from medicine and drugs to industrial manufacturing and processing. If you have more questions, I would be happy to try to answer them.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Scifor Refugee
    Well, obviously I think it's fun...but it's definitely not for everyone. There's a huge range of stuff that it's applicable to. Personally I'm more into materials, but its useful for everything from medicine and drugs to industrial manufacturing and processing. If you have more questions, I would be happy to try to answer them.
    Hmm, at the moment, I can't really think of much. I don't really have any specific questions. Heh, I'm used to learning about this stuff on career day when people have a speech set up and everything.

    Thanks a lot though. If I ever have a question, I'll ask you.
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  23. #22  
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    Generally, I think its something like from across period three, Sodium (Na) to Aluminium (Al), the electrical conductivity increases, and at Silicon (Si) it starts to decrease.
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