Home Podcasts THMG143 – The Periodic Table, Part I

THMG143 – The Periodic Table, Part I

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In this episode, Mike and Bob explore the periodic table of elements to give you the foundational knowledge you need to work smarter.

Thank to our sponsors – CBRNE Convergence World 2018, FLIR, and First Line Technology.

Our hazardous materials training manual, National Emergency Response Hazmat Drills: 50 Drills for Use with Hazardous Materials Personnel, is finally available on Amazon!

You can download the periodic table here. Plus, check out our regular periodic table and wide periodic table.

Complete Show Notes

3:30 Why is the Periodic Table of Elements Important?

  • Many people in the hazmat field don’t completely understand the periodic table and why it matters to us
  • It’s briefly mentioned in classes, but its importance isn’t completely fleshed out
  • The purpose of this episode (and next week’s episode) is to make the periodic table and why it matters to us easy to understand

8:30 History of the Periodic Table

  • Created in 1869 by Russian chemistry professor Dmitri Mendeleev
  • However, there were some precursors:
    • In 1789, Antoine Lavoisier came up with a loose grouping of elements
    • In 1829, Johann Wolfgang Dobereiner started to group the elements by chemical properties
    • This system was further refined by Leopold Gmelin in 1843
    • In 1857, August Kekule and many others brought us to the final version used by Mendeleev

10:15 General Information on the Periodic Table

  • Contains 118 elements
  • We can quickly identify an element either by its letter abbreviation or its atomic number
  • New elements are discovered and added every now and then
  • The first 94 elements are naturally occuring
  • Nothing after Einsteinium (99) has ever been found in concentrations larger than microscopic amounts of around 300,000 atoms

12:55 Organization of the Periodic Table

  • Horizontal lines are referred to as rows, while vertical lines are referred to as groups or families
  • Thick line that looks like a staircase on the right side divides the metals from the non-metals – metals are on the left-hand side, while nonmetals are on the right-hand side
  • Elements on either side of the line are metalloids or semiconductors (which have properties of both metals and nonmetals)
  • Two rows below the chart are referred to as the lanthanides and actinides – most of these elements are synthetic (made in laboratories)
  • Chart allows us to make broad generalizations about elements (i.e. higher elements are usually gasses, while lower elements are usually solids)
  • Each box has very specific information about the element, such as its:
    • Name
    • Atomic mass – number of protons and neutrons in the nucleus
    • Atomic number – number of protons in the nucleus (gives element its unique characteristics)
    • Atomic weight – atomic mass in relation to a reference point (keep in mind that atomic weights are averages)
    • Elemental symbol – shorthand of the long (and often unpronounceable) name of the element

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