Home Podcasts THMG144 – The Periodic Table, Part II

THMG144 – The Periodic Table, Part II


In this episode, we conclude our discussion of the periodic table of elements to give you the foundational knowledge you need to work smarter.

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

Complete Show Notes
Recap of Episode 143

Organization of the Periodic Table

  • Horizontal lines are called rows
  • Vertical lines are called groups (or families)
  • Thick line divides metals from nonmetals – metals are on the left side and nonmetals are on the right side
  • A segment of elements called metalloids or semiconductors are on either side of the line
  • Two rows pulled out below the chart are referred to as lanthanides and actinides – these are all synthetic elements made in laboratories
  • Higher elements are usually gasses, while lower elements are usually solids

The Elements Themselves

  • Each box has very specific information about the element, such as its:
    • Name
    • Atomic mass
    • Atomic number
    • Atomic weight
    • Elemental symbol
    • Some charts also include information about the orbitals

What’s in the Box?

  • Atomic number
    • Atoms and elements are made up of three things – protons, neutrons, and electrons
    • The quantity of protons and neutrons are how we measure mass and atomic number
    • The atomic number is simply the number of protons in the nucleus
  • Atomic mass
    • Total mass of the nucleus and must account for both the protons and neutrons
    • Adding the amount of protons and neutrons together gives us the atomic weight
    • When there’s an imbalance of protons and neutrons in the nucleus, an element becomes an isotope
  • Atomic weight
    • The atomic weight in relation to a reference point
    • Reference point must be rock solid so the numbers are consistent and we’re comparing apples to apples
  • Atomic symbol
    • Letters in the box – shorthand of the usually long and unpronounceable name

3:20 More On Metals

  • In general, these 10 groups in the middle part of the table are relatively stable
  • The top right of each box sometimes has a few different numbers, which are the valence orbitals
  • These elements are so stable that they can share both their outermost (or valence orbits) and their inner orbitals
  • Metalloids and semiconductors are organized by atomic number – as the atomic number goes up, the weight goes up as well

5:15 Groups (AKA Families)

  • Includes:
    • Group 1: Alkali earths
    • Group 2: Alkaline earth metals
    • Group 3: Lanthanides & actinides
    • Group 4: Transition metals
    • Group 5: Post-transitional metals
    • Group 6: Metalloids or semiconductors
    • Group 7: Reactive non-metals (halogens)
    • Group 8: Noble (inert) gasses

7:30 Alkali Earths

  • Group 1 (far left column) – lithium, sodium, potassium, rubidium, cesium, and Francium
  • These elements are very reactive – in general, the further down the column you go, the more reactive the elements are
  • The rarer the elements, the more often they are to react before they can be used
  • When they do react, they’re energetically exothermic and will spit white flames and anger at you
  • They can also liberate potentially flammable gasses like hydrogen or produce corrosives
  • They’re referred to as air reactive, as it’s the moisture in the air they don’t like – in reality, they’re water reactive and are packed under mineral oil

12:30 Alkaline Earth Metals

  • Group 2 – beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium, barium, and radium
  • These elements aren’t as reactive as the elements in Group 1 – still water reactive, though
  • Even through they don’t spontaneously ignite, they’re ready and waiting to do so
  • If you take these elements and increase the surface area, it reduces the ignition energy
  • Commonly used in the commercial setting for their radioactive traits

14:10 Halogens

  • Group 7 – fluorine, chlorine, bromine, iodine, and astatine
  • Extremely reactive because they steal electrons from the outer valence ring that starts chain reactions that may be uncontrollable
  • They’re non-flammable, although many people think they are
  • They accelerate reactions, making them as bad (if not worse) than flammable gasses – they make things burn that don’t usually burn

17:45 Noble Gasses

  • Group 8 (far right column) – helium, neon, argon, krypton, xenon, and radon
  • Unique group because all of these elements are gasses
  • Because their valence rings are full, they’re happy and don’t want to interact with anyone
  • Excellent displacers of oxygen, which means they pose an asphyxiant threat
  • Stored in a cryogenic state and have massive expansion ratios

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