Periodic table

Periodic table

Overview
The periodic table of the chemical elements (also known as the periodic table or periodic table of the elements) is a tabular
Table (information)
A table is a means of arranging data in rows and columns.Production % of goalNorth 4087102%South 4093110% The use of tables is pervasive throughout all communication, research and data analysis. Tables appear in print media, handwritten notes, computer software, architectural...

 display of the 118 known chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s organized by selected properties of their atomic structure
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

, the number of proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

s in an atom's atomic nucleus
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

. While rectangular in general outline, gaps are included in the horizontal rows (known as periods) as needed to keep elements with similar properties together in vertical columns (known as groups), e.g.
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Encyclopedia
The periodic table of the chemical elements (also known as the periodic table or periodic table of the elements) is a tabular
Table (information)
A table is a means of arranging data in rows and columns.Production % of goalNorth 4087102%South 4093110% The use of tables is pervasive throughout all communication, research and data analysis. Tables appear in print media, handwritten notes, computer software, architectural...

 display of the 118 known chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s organized by selected properties of their atomic structure
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s. Elements are presented by increasing atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

, the number of proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

s in an atom's atomic nucleus
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

. While rectangular in general outline, gaps are included in the horizontal rows (known as periods) as needed to keep elements with similar properties together in vertical columns (known as groups), e.g. alkali metal
Alkali metal
The alkali metals are a series of chemical elements in the periodic table. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkali metals comprise the group 1 elements, along with hydrogen. The alkali metals are lithium , sodium , potassium , rubidium , caesium , and francium...

s, alkali earths, halogen
Halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

s, noble gas
Noble gas
The noble gases are a group of chemical elements with very similar properties: under standard conditions, they are all odorless, colorless, monatomic gases, with very low chemical reactivity...

es.

The following is the periodic table as defined by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Council for Science . The international headquarters of IUPAC is located in Zürich,...

 (IUPAC):
Although there were precursors, the current presentation's invention is generally credited to Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev
Dmitri Mendeleev
Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev , was a Russian chemist and inventor. He is credited as being the creator of the first version of the periodic table of elements...

, who developed a version of the now-familiar tabular presentation in 1869 to illustrate recurring ("periodic") trends in the properties of the then-known elements. The layout of the table has been refined and extended over time, as new elements have been discovered, and new theoretical models have been developed to explain chemical behavior.

Since the periodic table accurately predicts the abilities of various elements to combine into chemical compounds, use of the periodic table is now ubiquitous within the academic discipline of chemistry
Chemistry
Chemistry is the science of matter, especially its chemical reactions, but also its composition, structure and properties. Chemistry is concerned with atoms and their interactions with other atoms, and particularly with the properties of chemical bonds....

, providing a useful framework to classify, systematize, and compare many of the many different forms of chemical behavior. The table has found many applications not only in chemistry and physics
Physics
Physics is a natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through spacetime, along with related concepts such as energy and force. More broadly, it is the general analysis of nature, conducted in order to understand how the universe behaves.Physics is one of the oldest academic...

, but also in such diverse fields as geology
Geology
Geology is the science comprising the study of solid Earth, the rocks of which it is composed, and the processes by which it evolves. Geology gives insight into the history of the Earth, as it provides the primary evidence for plate tectonics, the evolutionary history of life, and past climates...

, biology
Biology
Biology is a natural science concerned with the study of life and living organisms, including their structure, function, growth, origin, evolution, distribution, and taxonomy. Biology is a vast subject containing many subdivisions, topics, and disciplines...

, materials science
Materials science
Materials science is an interdisciplinary field applying the properties of matter to various areas of science and engineering. This scientific field investigates the relationship between the structure of materials at atomic or molecular scales and their macroscopic properties. It incorporates...

, engineering
Engineering
Engineering is the discipline, art, skill and profession of acquiring and applying scientific, mathematical, economic, social, and practical knowledge, in order to design and build structures, machines, devices, systems, materials and processes that safely realize improvements to the lives of...

, agriculture
Agriculture
Agriculture is the cultivation of animals, plants, fungi and other life forms for food, fiber, and other products used to sustain life. Agriculture was the key implement in the rise of sedentary human civilization, whereby farming of domesticated species created food surpluses that nurtured the...

, medicine
Medicine
Medicine is the science and art of healing. It encompasses a variety of health care practices evolved to maintain and restore health by the prevention and treatment of illness....

, nutrition
Nutrition
Nutrition is the provision, to cells and organisms, of the materials necessary to support life. Many common health problems can be prevented or alleviated with a healthy diet....

, environmental health
Environmental health
Environmental health is the branch of public health that is concerned with all aspects of the natural and built environment that may affect human health...

, and astronomy
Astronomy
Astronomy is a natural science that deals with the study of celestial objects and phenomena that originate outside the atmosphere of Earth...

. Its principles are especially important in chemical engineering
Chemical engineering
Chemical engineering is the branch of engineering that deals with physical science , and life sciences with mathematics and economics, to the process of converting raw materials or chemicals into more useful or valuable forms...

.

One of the strengths of Mendeleev's presentation is that the original version accurately predicted some of the properties of then-undiscovered elements expected to fill gaps in his arrangement. For example: "eka-aluminium", expected to have properties intermediate between aluminium
Aluminium
Aluminium or aluminum is a silvery white member of the boron group of chemical elements. It has the symbol Al, and its atomic number is 13. It is not soluble in water under normal circumstances....

 and indium
Indium
Indium is a chemical element with the symbol In and atomic number 49. This rare, very soft, malleable and easily fusible post-transition metal is chemically similar to gallium and thallium, and shows the intermediate properties between these two...

, was discovered with said properties in 1875 and named gallium
Gallium
Gallium is a chemical element that has the symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Elemental gallium does not occur in nature, but as the gallium salt in trace amounts in bauxite and zinc ores. A soft silvery metallic poor metal, elemental gallium is a brittle solid at low temperatures. As it liquefies...

. No gaps remain in the current 118-element periodic table; all elements from hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 to plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

 except technetium
Technetium
Technetium is the chemical element with atomic number 43 and symbol Tc. It is the lowest atomic number element without any stable isotopes; every form of it is radioactive. Nearly all technetium is produced synthetically and only minute amounts are found in nature...

, promethium
Promethium
Promethium is a chemical element with the symbol Pm and atomic number 61. It is notable for being the only exclusively radioactive element besides technetium that is followed by chemical elements with stable isotopes.- Prediction :...

 and neptunium
Neptunium
Neptunium is a chemical element with the symbol Np and atomic number 93. A radioactive metal, neptunium is the first transuranic element and belongs to the actinide series. Its most stable isotope, 237Np, is a by-product of nuclear reactors and plutonium production and it can be used as a...

 exist in the Earth in macroscopic or recurrently produced trace quantities. The three said exceptions do exist naturally, but only in trace amounts as the result of rare nuclear processes from decay of heavy elements. Every element through Copernicium, element 112, has been isolated, characterized, and named, and elements 113
Ununtrium
Ununtrium is the temporary name of a synthetic element with the temporary symbol Uut and atomic number 113.It is placed as the heaviest member of the group 13 elements although a sufficiently stable isotope is not known at this time that would allow chemical experiments to confirm its position...

 through 118
Ununoctium
Ununoctium is the temporary IUPAC name for the transactinide element having the atomic number 118 and temporary element symbol Uuo. It is also known as eka-radon or element 118, and on the periodic table of the elements it is a p-block element and the last one of the 7th period. Ununoctium is...

 have been synthesized in laboratories around the world.

While plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

 is now included among the 91 regularly occurring natural elements, and technetium, promethium, and neptunium also occur naturally in transient trace amounts, these four elements were first identified and characterized from technologically produced samples. Numerous synthetic radionuclides of various naturally occurring elements have been produced as well.

Production of additional synthetic elements beyond atomic number 118 is being pursued; whether the next elements will neatly fill an eighth period
Period 8 element
A period 8 element is any one of 50 hypothetical chemical elements belonging to an eighth period of the periodic table of the elements. They may be referred to using IUPAC systematic element names. None of these elements have been created, and it is possible that none have isotopes with stable...

 or require modifications to the overall patterns of the present periodic table remains unknown.

Organizing principles


The main value of the periodic table is the ability to predict the chemical properties of an element based on its location on the table. It should be noted that the properties vary differently when moving vertically along the columns of the table than when moving horizontally along the rows.

The layout of the periodic table demonstrates recurring ("periodic") chemical properties. Elements are listed in order of increasing atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 (i.e., the number of proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

s in the atomic nucleus
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

). Rows are arranged so that elements with similar properties fall into the same columns (groups or families). According to quantum mechanical
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 theories of electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 configuration within atoms, each row (period) in the table corresponded to the filling of a quantum shell
Electron shell
An electron shell may be thought of as an orbit followed by electrons around an atom's nucleus. The closest shell to the nucleus is called the "1 shell" , followed by the "2 shell" , then the "3 shell" , and so on further and further from the nucleus. The shell letters K,L,M,.....

 of electrons. There are progressively longer periods further down the table, grouping the elements into s-, p-, d- and f-blocks to reflect their electron configuration
Electron configuration
In atomic physics and quantum chemistry, electron configuration is the arrangement of electrons of an atom, a molecule, or other physical structure...

.

Elements, natural and synthetic


Only chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s, not mixture
Mixture
In chemistry, a mixture is a material system made up by two or more different substances which are mixed together but are not combined chemically...

s, compounds
Chemical compound
A chemical compound is a pure chemical substance consisting of two or more different chemical elements that can be separated into simpler substances by chemical reactions. Chemical compounds have a unique and defined chemical structure; they consist of a fixed ratio of atoms that are held together...

, or subatomic particle
Subatomic particle
In physics or chemistry, subatomic particles are the smaller particles composing nucleons and atoms. There are two types of subatomic particles: elementary particles, which are not made of other particles, and composite particles...

s, are included in the periodic table. Each element has a single entry, even if it has multiple isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

s.

As of June 2011, the periodic table includes 118 chemical elements whose discoveries have been confirmed. Of these, 91 are regularly occurring primordial
Primordial nuclide
In geochemistry and geonuclear physics, primordial nuclides or primordial isotopes are nuclides found on the earth that have existed in their current form since before Earth was formed. Only 288 such nuclides are known...

 or recurrently produced
Trace radioisotope
A trace radioisotope is a radioisotope that occurs naturally in trace amounts . Generally speaking, trace radioisotopes have half-lives that are short in comparison to the age of the earth, since primordial nuclides tend to occur in larger than trace amounts...

 elements found naturally on the Earth
Earth
Earth is the third planet from the Sun, and the densest and fifth-largest of the eight planets in the Solar System. It is also the largest of the Solar System's four terrestrial planets...

, at least in transient trace amounts, and three others occur naturally, but only incidentally. The 24 other known elements (those from americium
Americium
Americium is a synthetic element that has the symbol Am and atomic number 95. This transuranic element of the actinide series is located in the periodic table below the lanthanide element europium, and thus by analogy was named after another continent, America.Americium was first produced in 1944...

 through ununoctium
Ununoctium
Ununoctium is the temporary IUPAC name for the transactinide element having the atomic number 118 and temporary element symbol Uuo. It is also known as eka-radon or element 118, and on the periodic table of the elements it is a p-block element and the last one of the 7th period. Ununoctium is...

) are synthetic
Synthetic element
In chemistry, a synthetic element is a chemical element that is too unstable to occur naturally on Earth, and therefore has to be created artificially. So far 30 synthetic elements have been discovered—that is, synthesized...

, produced by human technology
Technology
Technology is the making, usage, and knowledge of tools, machines, techniques, crafts, systems or methods of organization in order to solve a problem or perform a specific function. It can also refer to the collection of such tools, machinery, and procedures. The word technology comes ;...

 but not regularly or incidentally occurring naturally. Various synthetic elements, as well as synthetic isotopes of naturally occurring elements, are now also present in the environment
Natural environment
The natural environment encompasses all living and non-living things occurring naturally on Earth or some region thereof. It is an environment that encompasses the interaction of all living species....

 from such sources as nuclear weapon
Nuclear weapon
A nuclear weapon is an explosive device that derives its destructive force from nuclear reactions, either fission or a combination of fission and fusion. Both reactions release vast quantities of energy from relatively small amounts of matter. The first fission bomb test released the same amount...

s explosions, nuclear waste processing, and disposal of materials including industrial and medical nucleotides. For example, americium
Americium
Americium is a synthetic element that has the symbol Am and atomic number 95. This transuranic element of the actinide series is located in the periodic table below the lanthanide element europium, and thus by analogy was named after another continent, America.Americium was first produced in 1944...

 and its decay product neptunium
Neptunium
Neptunium is a chemical element with the symbol Np and atomic number 93. A radioactive metal, neptunium is the first transuranic element and belongs to the actinide series. Its most stable isotope, 237Np, is a by-product of nuclear reactors and plutonium production and it can be used as a...

 are incidentally present in household and commercial waste
Waste
Waste is unwanted or useless materials. In biology, waste is any of the many unwanted substances or toxins that are expelled from living organisms, metabolic waste; such as urea, sweat or feces. Litter is waste which has been disposed of improperly...

 from disposal of unwanted americium-containing smoke detectors.

Formal naming of the chemical elements is overseen by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry
The International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is an international federation of National Adhering Organizations that represents chemists in individual countries. It is a member of the International Council for Science . The international headquarters of IUPAC is located in Zürich,...

 (IUPAC). Provisional names
Systematic element name
A systematic element name is the temporary name and symbol assigned to newly synthesized and not yet synthesized chemical elements. In chemistry, a transuranic element receives a permanent name and symbol only after its synthesis has been confirmed. In some cases, this has been a protracted and...

, such as ununtrium
Ununtrium
Ununtrium is the temporary name of a synthetic element with the temporary symbol Uut and atomic number 113.It is placed as the heaviest member of the group 13 elements although a sufficiently stable isotope is not known at this time that would allow chemical experiments to confirm its position...

, ununquadium
Ununquadium
Ununquadium is the temporary name of a radioactive chemical element with the temporary symbol Uuq and atomic number 114. There is no proposed name yet, although flerovium has been discussed in the media.About 80 decays of atoms of...

, or ununpentium
Ununpentium
Ununpentium is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element in the periodic table that has the temporary symbol Uup and has the atomic number 115....

, are provided for elements that have been discovered but not yet been formally named; these names are based on the three digits of their atomic numbers.

Atomic number


By definition, each chemical element has a unique atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

, the number of proton
Proton
The proton is a subatomic particle with the symbol or and a positive electric charge of 1 elementary charge. One or more protons are present in the nucleus of each atom, along with neutrons. The number of protons in each atom is its atomic number....

s in its nucleus. Different atom
Atom
The atom is a basic unit of matter that consists of a dense central nucleus surrounded by a cloud of negatively charged electrons. The atomic nucleus contains a mix of positively charged protons and electrically neutral neutrons...

s of many elements have different numbers of neutron
Neutron
The neutron is a subatomic hadron particle which has the symbol or , no net electric charge and a mass slightly larger than that of a proton. With the exception of hydrogen, nuclei of atoms consist of protons and neutrons, which are therefore collectively referred to as nucleons. The number of...

s, which differentiates between isotope
Isotope
Isotopes are variants of atoms of a particular chemical element, which have differing numbers of neutrons. Atoms of a particular element by definition must contain the same number of protons but may have a distinct number of neutrons which differs from atom to atom, without changing the designation...

s of an element. For example, all atoms of hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 have one proton, and no atoms of any other element have exactly one proton. On the other hand, a hydrogen atom can have one or two neutrons in its nucleus, or none at all, yet all of these cases are isotopes of hydrogen, not instances of some other element. (A hydrogen atom
Hydrogen atom
A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force...

 with no neutrons in addition to its sole proton is called protium
Hydrogen atom
A hydrogen atom is an atom of the chemical element hydrogen. The electrically neutral atom contains a single positively-charged proton and a single negatively-charged electron bound to the nucleus by the Coulomb force...

, one with one neutron in addition to its proton is called deuterium
Deuterium
Deuterium, also called heavy hydrogen, is one of two stable isotopes of hydrogen. It has a natural abundance in Earth's oceans of about one atom in of hydrogen . Deuterium accounts for approximately 0.0156% of all naturally occurring hydrogen in Earth's oceans, while the most common isotope ...

, and one with two additional neutrons, tritium
Tritium
Tritium is a radioactive isotope of hydrogen. The nucleus of tritium contains one proton and two neutrons, whereas the nucleus of protium contains one proton and no neutrons...

.)

In the modern periodic table, the elements are placed progressively in each row (period) from left to right in the sequence of their atomic numbers, with each new row starting with the next atomic number following the last number in the previous row. No gaps or duplications exist. Since the elements can be uniquely sequenced by atomic number, conventionally from lowest to highest, sets of elements are sometimes specified by such notation as "through", "beyond", or "from ... through", as in "through iron", "beyond uranium", or "from lanthanum through lutetium". The terms "light" and "heavy" are sometimes also used informally to indicate relative atomic numbers (not densities), as in "lighter than carbon" or "heavier than lead", although technically the weight or mass of atoms of an element (their atomic weights or atomic masses) do not always increase monotonically
Monotonic function
In mathematics, a monotonic function is a function that preserves the given order. This concept first arose in calculus, and was later generalized to the more abstract setting of order theory....

 with their atomic numbers.

The significance of atomic numbers to the organization of the periodic table was not appreciated until the existence and properties of protons and neutrons became understood. Mendeleev's periodic tables instead used atomic weight
Atomic weight
Atomic weight is a dimensionless physical quantity, the ratio of the average mass of atoms of an element to 1/12 of the mass of an atom of carbon-12...

s, information determinable to fair precision in his time, which worked well enough in most cases to give a powerfully predictive presentation far better than any other comprehensive portrayal of the chemical elements' properties then possible. Substitution of atomic numbers, once understood, gave a definitive, integer
Integer
The integers are formed by the natural numbers together with the negatives of the non-zero natural numbers .They are known as Positive and Negative Integers respectively...

-based sequence for the elements, still used today even as new synthetic elements are being produced and studied.

Periodicity of chemical properties



The primary determinant of an element's chemical properties is its electron configuration
Electron configuration
In atomic physics and quantum chemistry, electron configuration is the arrangement of electrons of an atom, a molecule, or other physical structure...

, particularly the valence shell electrons. For instance, any atoms with four valence electrons occupying p orbitals will exhibit some similarity. The type of orbital in which the atom's outermost electrons reside determines the "block" to which it belongs. The number of valence shell electrons determines the family, or group, to which the element belongs.
SubshellSGFDP
Period
1 1s
2 2s 2p
3 3s 3p
4 4s 3d 4p
5 5s 4d 5p
6 6s 4f 5d 6p
7 7s 5f 6d 7p
8 8s 5g 6f 7d 8p


The total number of electron shell
Electron shell
An electron shell may be thought of as an orbit followed by electrons around an atom's nucleus. The closest shell to the nucleus is called the "1 shell" , followed by the "2 shell" , then the "3 shell" , and so on further and further from the nucleus. The shell letters K,L,M,.....

s an atom has determines the period to which it belongs. Each shell is divided into different subshells, which as atomic number increases are filled in roughly this order (the Aufbau principle
Aufbau principle
The Aufbau principle is used to determine the electron configuration of an atom, molecule or ion. The principle postulates a hypothetical process in which an atom is "built up" by progressively adding electrons...

) (see table). Hence the structure of the periodic table. Since the outermost electrons determine chemical properties, those with the same number of valence electrons are generally grouped together.

Progressing through a group from lightest element to heaviest element, the outer-shell electrons (those most readily accessible for participation in chemical reactions) are all in the same type of orbital, with a similar shape, but with increasingly higher energy and average distance from the nucleus. For instance, the outer-shell (or "valence
Valence electron
In chemistry, valence electrons are the electrons of an atom that can participate in the formation of chemical bonds with other atoms. Valence electrons are the "own" electrons, present in the free neutral atom, that combine with valence electrons of other atoms to form chemical bonds. In a single...

") electrons of the first group, headed by hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

, all have one electron in an s orbital. In hydrogen, that s orbital is in the lowest possible energy state of any atom, the first-shell orbital (and represented by hydrogen's position in the first period of the table). In francium
Francium
Francium is a chemical element with symbol Fr and atomic number 87. It was formerly known as eka-caesium and actinium K.Actually the least unstable isotope, francium-223 It has the lowest electronegativity of all known elements, and is the second rarest naturally occurring element...

, the heaviest element of the group, the outer-shell electron is in the seventh-shell orbital, significantly further out on average from the nucleus than those electrons filling all the shells below it in energy. As another example, both carbon and lead have four electrons in their outer shell orbitals.

Note that as atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

 (i.e., charge on the atomic nucleus
Atomic nucleus
The nucleus is the very dense region consisting of protons and neutrons at the center of an atom. It was discovered in 1911, as a result of Ernest Rutherford's interpretation of the famous 1909 Rutherford experiment performed by Hans Geiger and Ernest Marsden, under the direction of Rutherford. The...

) increases, this leads to greater spin-orbit coupling between the nucleus and the electrons, reducing the validity of the quantum mechanical orbital approximation model, which considers each atomic orbital as a separate entity.

Groups



A group or family is a vertical column in the periodic table. Groups are considered the most important method of classifying the elements. In some groups, the elements have very similar properties and exhibit a clear trend in properties down the group. Under the international naming system, the groups are numbered numerically 1 through 18 from the left most column (the alkali metals) to the right most column (the noble gases). The older naming systems differed slightly between Europe and America (the table shown in this section shows the old American Naming System).

Some of these groups have been given trivial (unsystematic) names, such as the alkali metal
Alkali metal
The alkali metals are a series of chemical elements in the periodic table. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkali metals comprise the group 1 elements, along with hydrogen. The alkali metals are lithium , sodium , potassium , rubidium , caesium , and francium...

s, alkaline earth metals, halogen
Halogen
The halogens or halogen elements are a series of nonmetal elements from Group 17 IUPAC Style of the periodic table, comprising fluorine , chlorine , bromine , iodine , and astatine...

s, pnictogens, chalcogen
Chalcogen
The chalcogens are the chemical elements in group 16 of the periodic table. This group is also known as the oxygen family...

s, and noble gas
Noble gas
The noble gases are a group of chemical elements with very similar properties: under standard conditions, they are all odorless, colorless, monatomic gases, with very low chemical reactivity...

es. However, some other groups, such as group 7
Group 7 element
A Group 7 element is one in the series of elements in group 7 in the periodic table, which consists of manganese , technetium , rhenium , and bohrium...

, have no trivial names and are referred to simply by their group numbers, since they display fewer similarities and/or vertical trends.

Modern quantum mechanical
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 theories of atomic structure explain group trends by proposing that elements within the same group generally have the same electron configurations in their valence shell, which is the most important factor in accounting for their similar properties.

Elements in the same group show patterns in atomic radius
Atomic radius
The atomic radius of a chemical element is a measure of the size of its atoms, usually the mean or typical distance from the nucleus to the boundary of the surrounding cloud of electrons...

, ionization energy
Ionization energy
The ionization energy of a chemical species, i.e. an atom or molecule, is the energy required to remove an electron from the species to a practically infinite distance. Large atoms or molecules have a low ionization energy, while small molecules tend to have higher ionization energies.The property...

, and electronegativity
Electronegativity
Electronegativity, symbol χ , is a chemical property that describes the tendency of an atom or a functional group to attract electrons towards itself. An atom's electronegativity is affected by both its atomic number and the distance that its valence electrons reside from the charged nucleus...

. From top to bottom in a group, the atomic radii of the elements increase. Since there are more filled energy levels, valence electrons are found farther from the nucleus. From the top, each successive element has a lower ionization energy because it is easier to remove an electron since the atoms are less tightly bound. Similarly, a group has a top to bottom decrease in electronegativity due to an increasing distance between valence electrons and the nucleus.

Periods



A period is a horizontal row in the periodic table. Although groups are the most common way of classifying elements, there are some regions of the periodic table where the horizontal trends and similarities in properties are more significant than vertical group trends. This can be true in the d-block
D-block
The d-block is the portion of the periodic table that contains the element groups 3-12. These groups correspond to the filling of the atomic d-orbital subshell, with electron configurations ranging from s2d1 to s2d10...

 (or "transition metal
Transition metal
The term transition metal has two possible meanings:*The IUPAC definition states that a transition metal is "an element whose atom has an incomplete d sub-shell, or which can give rise to cations with an incomplete d sub-shell." Group 12 elements are not transition metals in this definition.*Some...

s"), and especially for the f-block
F-block
The f-block of the periodic table of the elements consists of those elements whose atoms or ions have valence electrons in f-orbitals. Actual electronic configurations may be slightly different from what is predicted by the Aufbau principle...

, where the lanthanide
Lanthanide
The lanthanide or lanthanoid series comprises the fifteen metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71, from lanthanum through lutetium...

s and actinide
Actinide
The actinide or actinoid series encompasses the 15 metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers from 89 to 103, actinium through lawrencium.The actinide series derives its name from the group 3 element actinium...

s form two substantial horizontal series of elements.
Elements in the same period show trends in atomic radius
Atomic radius
The atomic radius of a chemical element is a measure of the size of its atoms, usually the mean or typical distance from the nucleus to the boundary of the surrounding cloud of electrons...

, ionization energy
Ionization energy
The ionization energy of a chemical species, i.e. an atom or molecule, is the energy required to remove an electron from the species to a practically infinite distance. Large atoms or molecules have a low ionization energy, while small molecules tend to have higher ionization energies.The property...

, electron affinity
Electron affinity
The Electron affinity of an atom or molecule is defined as the amount of energy released when an electron is added to a neutral atom or molecule to form a negative ion....

, and electronegativity
Electronegativity
Electronegativity, symbol χ , is a chemical property that describes the tendency of an atom or a functional group to attract electrons towards itself. An atom's electronegativity is affected by both its atomic number and the distance that its valence electrons reside from the charged nucleus...

. Moving left to right across a period, atomic radius usually decreases. This occurs because each successive element has an added proton and electron which causes the electron to be drawn closer to the nucleus. This decrease in atomic radius also causes the ionization energy to increase when moving from left to right across a period. The more tightly bound an element is, the more energy is required to remove an electron. Electronegativity increases in the same manner as ionization energy because of the pull exerted on the electrons by the nucleus. Electron affinity
Electron affinity
The Electron affinity of an atom or molecule is defined as the amount of energy released when an electron is added to a neutral atom or molecule to form a negative ion....

 also shows a slight trend across a period. Metals (left side of a period) generally have a lower electron affinity than nonmetals (right side of a period) with the exception of the noble gases.

Blocks


Because of the importance of the outermost electron shell, the different regions of the periodic table are sometimes referred to as periodic table blocks, named according to the subshell in which the "last" electron resides. The s-block
S-block
The s-block of the periodic table of elements consists of the first two groups: the alkali metals and alkaline earth metals, plus hydrogen and helium.Except in hydrogen and helium, these electrons are very easily lost to form positive ions...

 comprises the first two groups (alkali metal
Alkali metal
The alkali metals are a series of chemical elements in the periodic table. In the modern IUPAC nomenclature, the alkali metals comprise the group 1 elements, along with hydrogen. The alkali metals are lithium , sodium , potassium , rubidium , caesium , and francium...

s and alkaline earth metals) as well as hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 and helium
Helium
Helium is the chemical element with atomic number 2 and an atomic weight of 4.002602, which is represented by the symbol He. It is a colorless, odorless, tasteless, non-toxic, inert, monatomic gas that heads the noble gas group in the periodic table...

. The p-block
P-block
The p-block of the periodic table of the elements consists of the last six groups minus helium . In the elemental form of the p-block elements, the highest energy electron occupies a p-orbital.-See also:...

 comprises the last six groups which are groups 13 through 18 in IUPAC (3A through 8A in American) and contains, among others, all of the semimetals. The d-block
D-block
The d-block is the portion of the periodic table that contains the element groups 3-12. These groups correspond to the filling of the atomic d-orbital subshell, with electron configurations ranging from s2d1 to s2d10...

 comprises groups 3 through 12 in IUPAC (or 3B through 8B in American group numbering) and contains all of the transition metal
Transition metal
The term transition metal has two possible meanings:*The IUPAC definition states that a transition metal is "an element whose atom has an incomplete d sub-shell, or which can give rise to cations with an incomplete d sub-shell." Group 12 elements are not transition metals in this definition.*Some...

s. The f-block
F-block
The f-block of the periodic table of the elements consists of those elements whose atoms or ions have valence electrons in f-orbitals. Actual electronic configurations may be slightly different from what is predicted by the Aufbau principle...

, usually offset below the rest of the periodic table, comprises the lanthanide
Lanthanide
The lanthanide or lanthanoid series comprises the fifteen metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers 57 through 71, from lanthanum through lutetium...

s and actinide
Actinide
The actinide or actinoid series encompasses the 15 metallic chemical elements with atomic numbers from 89 to 103, actinium through lawrencium.The actinide series derives its name from the group 3 element actinium...

s.

Uncertainties after element 118



Element 118 completes the seventh period of the periodic table. Since the properties of any additional elements are still unknown, it is unclear whether they will continue the pattern of the currently accepted periodic table as an additional period (Period 8
Period 8 element
A period 8 element is any one of 50 hypothetical chemical elements belonging to an eighth period of the periodic table of the elements. They may be referred to using IUPAC systematic element names. None of these elements have been created, and it is possible that none have isotopes with stable...

), or require further adaptations or adjustments to the currently known patterns. Glenn T. Seaborg
Glenn T. Seaborg
Glenn Theodore Seaborg was an American scientist who won the 1951 Nobel Prize in Chemistry for "discoveries in the chemistry of the transuranium elements", contributed to the discovery and isolation of ten elements, and developed the actinide concept, which led to the current arrangement of the...

 expected the next 50 elements to form an eighth period, including a two-element s-block for elements 119 and 120, a g-block (the first) for the next 18 elements (121-138), filling a g-shell of electrons, and the 30 additional elements continuing the current p-, d-, and f-blocks. However, some physicists, including Pekka Pyykkö, have theorized that these additional elements will deviate from the Madelung energy-ordering rule, which predicts how electron shells are filled, and thus affect the appearance of the present periodic table.

Conventional and alternative formats


In printed or other formally presented periodic tables, each element is provided a formatted cell that provides selected information on each element. Atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

, element symbol, and name, are generally included, as well as selected other information, such as each element's atomic weight
Atomic weight
Atomic weight is a dimensionless physical quantity, the ratio of the average mass of atoms of an element to 1/12 of the mass of an atom of carbon-12...

, density
Density
The mass density or density of a material is defined as its mass per unit volume. The symbol most often used for density is ρ . In some cases , density is also defined as its weight per unit volume; although, this quantity is more properly called specific weight...

, melting
Melting point
The melting point of a solid is the temperature at which it changes state from solid to liquid. At the melting point the solid and liquid phase exist in equilibrium. The melting point of a substance depends on pressure and is usually specified at standard atmospheric pressure...

 and boiling point
Boiling point
The boiling point of an element or a substance is the temperature at which the vapor pressure of the liquid equals the environmental pressure surrounding the liquid....

s, crystal structure as a solid, origin, abbreviated electron configuration
Electron configuration
In atomic physics and quantum chemistry, electron configuration is the arrangement of electrons of an atom, a molecule, or other physical structure...

, electronegativity, and most common valence numbers.

The information included in a periodic table can be presented in many ways, including selection of kinds of data to be shown, layout within the cells representing particular elements, and the format used to present the table's periodic patterns. Colors, symbols, and other formatting conventions are often used in periodic tables to show selected additional information for each element compactly. Interactive versions may also include hyperlinks to additional information, as in the version shown at the top of this Wikipedia article.

While the iconic format presented above is widely used, other alternative periodic tables
Alternative periodic tables
Alternative periodic tables are tabulations of chemical elements differing significantly in their organization from the traditional depiction of the Periodic System. Several have been devised, often purely for didactic reasons, as not all correlations between the chemical elements are effectively...

 exist, including not only various rectangular formats, but also circular or cylindrical versions in which the rows (periods) flow from one into another, without the arbitrary breaks required at the margins of the usual printed or screen-formatted versions.

In presentations of the periodic table, the lanthanides and the actinides are customarily shown as two additional rows below the main body of the table, with placeholders or else a selected single element of each series (either lanthanum
Lanthanum
Lanthanum is a chemical element with the symbol La and atomic number 57.Lanthanum is a silvery white metallic element that belongs to group 3 of the periodic table and is the first element of the lanthanide series. It is found in some rare-earth minerals, usually in combination with cerium and...

 or lutetium, and either actinium
Actinium
Actinium is a radioactive chemical element with the symbol Ac and atomic number 89, which was discovered in 1899. It was the first non-primordial radioactive element to be isolated. Polonium, radium and radon were observed before actinium, but they were not isolated until 1902...

 or lawrencium
Lawrencium
Lawrencium is a radioactive synthetic chemical element with the symbol Lr and atomic number 103. In the periodic table of the elements, it is a period 7 d-block element and the last element of actinide series...

, respectively) shown in a single cell of the main table, between barium
Barium
Barium is a chemical element with the symbol Ba and atomic number 56. It is the fifth element in Group 2, a soft silvery metallic alkaline earth metal. Barium is never found in nature in its pure form due to its reactivity with air. Its oxide is historically known as baryta but it reacts with...

 and hafnium
Hafnium
Hafnium is a chemical element with the symbol Hf and atomic number 72. A lustrous, silvery gray, tetravalent transition metal, hafnium chemically resembles zirconium and is found in zirconium minerals. Its existence was predicted by Dmitri Mendeleev in 1869. Hafnium was the penultimate stable...

, and radium
Radium
Radium is a chemical element with atomic number 88, represented by the symbol Ra. Radium is an almost pure-white alkaline earth metal, but it readily oxidizes on exposure to air, becoming black in color. All isotopes of radium are highly radioactive, with the most stable isotope being radium-226,...

 and rutherfordium
Rutherfordium
Rutherfordium is a chemical element with symbol Rf and atomic number 104, named in honor of New Zealand physicist Ernest Rutherford. It is a synthetic element and radioactive; the most stable known isotope, 267Rf, has a half-life of approximately 1.3 hours.In the periodic table of the elements,...

, respectively. This convention is entirely a matter of aesthetics
Aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

 and formatting practicality; a rarely used wide-formatted periodic table
Periodic table (wide)
This is a version of the periodic table of the elements that places all elements of one period in the same row. For more information on its contents and history, see the article Periodic table.----- See also :*Periodic table*Periodic table...

 inserts the lanthanide and actinide series in their proper places, as parts of the table's sixth and seventh rows (periods).

Many presentations of the periodic table show a dark stair-step diagonal line along the metalloid
Metalloid
Metalloid is a term used in chemistry when classifying the chemical elements. On the basis of their general physical and chemical properties, each element can usually be classified as a metal or a nonmetal. However, some elements with intermediate or mixed properties can be harder to characterize...

s, with metals to the left of the line and non-metals to the right. Various other groupings of the chemical elements are sometimes also highlighted on a periodic table, such as transition metal
Transition metal
The term transition metal has two possible meanings:*The IUPAC definition states that a transition metal is "an element whose atom has an incomplete d sub-shell, or which can give rise to cations with an incomplete d sub-shell." Group 12 elements are not transition metals in this definition.*Some...

s, poor metals, and metalloids. Other informal groupings of the elements exist, such as the platinum group
Platinum group
The platinum group metals is a term used sometimes to collectively refer to six metallic elements clustered together in the periodic table.These elements are all transition metals, lying in the d-block .The six...

 and the noble metals, but are rarely addressed in periodic tables.

Hydrogen
Hydrogen
Hydrogen is the chemical element with atomic number 1. It is represented by the symbol H. With an average atomic weight of , hydrogen is the lightest and most abundant chemical element, constituting roughly 75% of the Universe's chemical elemental mass. Stars in the main sequence are mainly...

 is usually placed above lithium
Lithium
Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly...

, although its chemistry differs substantially from that of lithium and the other alkali metals; some periodic tables place it on its own.

Elements with atomic numbers greater than 82
Lead
Lead is a main-group element in the carbon group with the symbol Pb and atomic number 82. Lead is a soft, malleable poor metal. It is also counted as one of the heavy metals. Metallic lead has a bluish-white color after being freshly cut, but it soon tarnishes to a dull grayish color when exposed...

, as well as technetium
Technetium
Technetium is the chemical element with atomic number 43 and symbol Tc. It is the lowest atomic number element without any stable isotopes; every form of it is radioactive. Nearly all technetium is produced synthetically and only minute amounts are found in nature...

 and promethium
Promethium
Promethium is a chemical element with the symbol Pm and atomic number 61. It is notable for being the only exclusively radioactive element besides technetium that is followed by chemical elements with stable isotopes.- Prediction :...

, have no stable isotopes; the atomic mass of each of these element's isotope having the longest half-life
Half-life
Half-life, abbreviated t½, is the period of time it takes for the amount of a substance undergoing decay to decrease by half. The name was originally used to describe a characteristic of unstable atoms , but it may apply to any quantity which follows a set-rate decay.The original term, dating to...

 is typically reported on periodic tables with parentheses.

History


In 1789, Antoine Lavoisier
Antoine Lavoisier
Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier , the "father of modern chemistry", was a French nobleman prominent in the histories of chemistry and biology...

 published a list of 33 chemical element
Chemical element
A chemical element is a pure chemical substance consisting of one type of atom distinguished by its atomic number, which is the number of protons in its nucleus. Familiar examples of elements include carbon, oxygen, aluminum, iron, copper, gold, mercury, and lead.As of November 2011, 118 elements...

s. Although Lavoisier grouped the elements into gases, metals, non-metals, and earths
Earth (chemistry)
The chemical term earths was historically applied to certain chemical substances, once thought to be elements, and this name was borrowed from one of the four classical elements of Plato...

, chemists spent the following century searching for a more precise classification scheme. In 1829, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner
Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner was a German chemist who is best known for work that foreshadowed the periodic law for the chemical elements.- Life and work :...

 observed that many of the elements could be grouped into triads (groups of three) based on their chemical properties. Lithium
Lithium
Lithium is a soft, silver-white metal that belongs to the alkali metal group of chemical elements. It is represented by the symbol Li, and it has the atomic number 3. Under standard conditions it is the lightest metal and the least dense solid element. Like all alkali metals, lithium is highly...

, sodium
Sodium
Sodium is a chemical element with the symbol Na and atomic number 11. It is a soft, silvery-white, highly reactive metal and is a member of the alkali metals; its only stable isotope is 23Na. It is an abundant element that exists in numerous minerals, most commonly as sodium chloride...

, and potassium
Potassium
Potassium is the chemical element with the symbol K and atomic number 19. Elemental potassium is a soft silvery-white alkali metal that oxidizes rapidly in air and is very reactive with water, generating sufficient heat to ignite the hydrogen emitted in the reaction.Potassium and sodium are...

, for example, were grouped together as being soft, reactive metals. Döbereiner also observed that, when arranged by atomic weight, the second member of each triad was roughly the average of the first and the third. This became known as the Law of Triads. German chemist Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin
Leopold Gmelin was a German chemist.Gmelin was the son of Johann Friedrich Gmelin. He studied medicine and chemistry at Göttingen, Tübingen and Vienna, and in 1813 began to lecture on chemistry at Heidelberg, where in 1814 he was appointed extraordinary-, and in 1817 ordinary-, professor of...

 worked with this system, and by 1843 he had identified ten triads, three groups of four, and one group of five. Jean Baptiste Dumas published work in 1857 describing relationships between various groups of metals. Although various chemists were able to identify relationships between small groups of elements, they had yet to build one scheme that encompassed them all.

German chemist August Kekulé
Friedrich August Kekulé von Stradonitz
Friedrich August Kekule von Stradonitz was a German organic chemist. From the 1850s until his death, Kekule was one of the most prominent chemists in Europe, especially in theoretical chemistry...

 had observed in 1858 that carbon
Carbon
Carbon is the chemical element with symbol C and atomic number 6. As a member of group 14 on the periodic table, it is nonmetallic and tetravalent—making four electrons available to form covalent chemical bonds...

 has a tendency to bond with other elements in a ratio of one to four. Methane
Methane
Methane is a chemical compound with the chemical formula . It is the simplest alkane, the principal component of natural gas, and probably the most abundant organic compound on earth. The relative abundance of methane makes it an attractive fuel...

, for example, has one carbon atom and four hydrogen atoms. This concept eventually became known as valency
Valence (chemistry)
In chemistry, valence, also known as valency or valence number, is a measure of the number of bonds formed by an atom of a given element. "Valence" can be defined as the number of valence bonds...

. In 1864, fellow German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer
Julius Lothar Meyer
Julius Lothar von Meyer was a German chemist. He was contemporary and competitor of Dmitri Mendeleev to draw up the first periodic table of chemical elements...

 published a table of the 49 known elements arranged by valency. The table revealed that elements with similar properties often shared the same valency.

English chemist John Newlands
John Alexander Reina Newlands
John Alexander Reina Newlands was an English chemist who invented the Periodic Table.Newlands was born in London and was the son of a scottish Presbyterian minister and his Italian wife....

 produced a series of papers in 1864 and 1865 that described his own classification of the elements: he noted that when listed in order of increasing atomic weight, similar physical and chemical properties recurred at intervals of eight, which he likened to the octave
Octave
In music, an octave is the interval between one musical pitch and another with half or double its frequency. The octave relationship is a natural phenomenon that has been referred to as the "basic miracle of music", the use of which is "common in most musical systems"...

s of music. This Law of Octaves, however, was ridiculed by his contemporaries, and the Chemical Society refused to publish his work. Nonetheless, Newlands was able to draft an atomic table and use it to predict the existence of missing elements, such as germanium
Germanium
Germanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors tin and silicon. The isolated element is a semiconductor, with an appearance most similar to elemental silicon....

. The Chemical Society only acknowledged the significance of his discoveries some five years after they credited Mendeleev.


Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev
Dmitri Mendeleev
Dmitri Ivanovich Mendeleev , was a Russian chemist and inventor. He is credited as being the creator of the first version of the periodic table of elements...

 and German chemist Julius Lothar Meyer
Julius Lothar Meyer
Julius Lothar von Meyer was a German chemist. He was contemporary and competitor of Dmitri Mendeleev to draw up the first periodic table of chemical elements...

 independently published their periodic tables in 1869 and 1870, respectively. They both constructed their tables in a similar manner: by listing the elements in a row or column in order of atomic weight and starting a new row or column when the characteristics of the elements began to repeat. The success of Mendeleev's table came from two decisions he made: The first was to leave gaps in the table when it seemed that the corresponding element had not yet been discovered. Mendeleev was not the first chemist to do so, but he was the first to be recognized as using the trends in his periodic table to predict the properties of those missing elements, such as gallium
Gallium
Gallium is a chemical element that has the symbol Ga and atomic number 31. Elemental gallium does not occur in nature, but as the gallium salt in trace amounts in bauxite and zinc ores. A soft silvery metallic poor metal, elemental gallium is a brittle solid at low temperatures. As it liquefies...

 and germanium
Germanium
Germanium is a chemical element with the symbol Ge and atomic number 32. It is a lustrous, hard, grayish-white metalloid in the carbon group, chemically similar to its group neighbors tin and silicon. The isolated element is a semiconductor, with an appearance most similar to elemental silicon....

. The second decision was to occasionally ignore the order suggested by the atomic weights and switch adjacent elements, such as cobalt
Cobalt
Cobalt is a chemical element with symbol Co and atomic number 27. It is found naturally only in chemically combined form. The free element, produced by reductive smelting, is a hard, lustrous, silver-gray metal....

 and nickel
Nickel
Nickel is a chemical element with the chemical symbol Ni and atomic number 28. It is a silvery-white lustrous metal with a slight golden tinge. Nickel belongs to the transition metals and is hard and ductile...

, to better classify them into chemical families. With the development of theories of atomic structure, it became apparent that Mendeleev had listed the elements in order of increasing atomic number
Atomic number
In chemistry and physics, the atomic number is the number of protons found in the nucleus of an atom and therefore identical to the charge number of the nucleus. It is conventionally represented by the symbol Z. The atomic number uniquely identifies a chemical element...

.

With the development of modern quantum mechanical
Quantum mechanics
Quantum mechanics, also known as quantum physics or quantum theory, is a branch of physics providing a mathematical description of much of the dual particle-like and wave-like behavior and interactions of energy and matter. It departs from classical mechanics primarily at the atomic and subatomic...

 theories of electron
Electron
The electron is a subatomic particle with a negative elementary electric charge. It has no known components or substructure; in other words, it is generally thought to be an elementary particle. An electron has a mass that is approximately 1/1836 that of the proton...

 configurations within atoms, it became apparent that each row (or period) in the table corresponded to the filling of a quantum shell of electrons. In Mendeleev's original table, each period was the same length. However, because larger atoms have more electron sub-shells, modern tables have progressively longer periods further down the table.

In the years following publication of Mendeleev's periodic table, the gaps he identified were filled as chemists discovered additional naturally occurring elements. It is often stated that the last naturally occurring element to be discovered was francium
Francium
Francium is a chemical element with symbol Fr and atomic number 87. It was formerly known as eka-caesium and actinium K.Actually the least unstable isotope, francium-223 It has the lowest electronegativity of all known elements, and is the second rarest naturally occurring element...

 (referred to by Mendeleev as eka-caesium) in 1939. However, plutonium
Plutonium
Plutonium is a transuranic radioactive chemical element with the chemical symbol Pu and atomic number 94. It is an actinide metal of silvery-gray appearance that tarnishes when exposed to air, forming a dull coating when oxidized. The element normally exhibits six allotropes and four oxidation...

, produced synthetically in 1940, was identified in trace quantities as a naturally occurring primordial element in 1971.

The production of various transuranic elements has expanded the periodic table significantly, the first of these being neptunium
Neptunium
Neptunium is a chemical element with the symbol Np and atomic number 93. A radioactive metal, neptunium is the first transuranic element and belongs to the actinide series. Its most stable isotope, 237Np, is a by-product of nuclear reactors and plutonium production and it can be used as a...

, synthesized in 1939. Because many of the transuranic elements are highly unstable and decay quickly, they are challenging to detect and characterize when produced, and there have been controversies
Element naming controversy
The names for the chemical elements 104 to 106 were the subject of a major controversy starting in the 1960s, described by some nuclear chemists as the Transfermium Wars because it concerned the elements following fermium on the periodic table....

 concerning the acceptance of competing discovery claims for some elements, requiring independent review to determine which party has priority, and hence naming rights. The most recently named element is copernicium (number 112), named on 19 February 2010; the most recently accepted discoveries are ununquadium
Ununquadium
Ununquadium is the temporary name of a radioactive chemical element with the temporary symbol Uuq and atomic number 114. There is no proposed name yet, although flerovium has been discussed in the media.About 80 decays of atoms of...

 (114) and ununhexium
Ununhexium
Ununhexium is the temporary name of a synthetic superheavy element with the temporary symbol Uuh and atomic number 116. There is no proposed name yet although moscovium has been discussed in the media.It is placed as the heaviest member of group 16 although a sufficiently stable isotope is...

 (116), both accepted on 1 June 2011.

See also


External links