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How to Read the Periodic Table

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The periodic table lists the elements in order of their masses, starting with the lightest and proceeding to the most massive elements. One way to list the elements would be in a long horizontal line. In the periodic table this line is broken into a series of seven rows. Periodic table is based on the structure of atoms rather than on their masses.


The periodic table lists the elements in order of their masses, starting with the lightest and proceeding to the most massive elements. One way to list the elements would be in a long horizontal line. In the periodic table this line is broken into a series of seven rows. Periodic table is based on the structure of atoms rather than on their masses.

Modern Periodic Table

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The periodic table summarizes a large amount of information. The periodic table is a chart that includes all of the natural and artificial elements known. It is also a guide and tool to understanding all chemical reactions.
  1. The symbol for each element is displayed in increasing order of atomic number. The atomic number is mentioned above the symbol of the element and atomic mass is mentioned below the symbol of the element.
  2. Each row of the periodic table is called a period and may contain from 2 to 32 elements. Periods with 32 elements are usually written with 14 of the elements placed below the main table.
  3. Each column is called a group, and elements within groups have similar chemical and physical properties.
  4. The groups of the periodic table are normally numbered, however the groups are usually not numbered on the periodic table.

Modern Periodic Table

Periodic Table with Group Names

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Certain columns within the periodic table are assigned group names.
  • Group IA represents the alkali metals.
  • Group IIA constitutes the alkaline earth metals.
  • Group VIIA represents the halogens.
  • Group VIIIA represents noble gases.
  • Grpup IA, IIA and IIIA-VIIIA are the representative elements or main block elements.
  • Group IB-VIIIB are the transition metals.


Periodic Table with Group Names

Elements of the same group generally share certain fundamental chemical properties. Periodic table with group names are depicted in the following picture.

Reading the Periodic Table

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The periodic table is a useful guide for the elements. Reading periodic table is quite straightforward. In periodic table each element shown in the elements symbol. The number shown in the left is its atomic number and the number shown in the right is its atomic weight or mass.

Atomic number allows to identify the element and its position in the periodic table. At the top of each column is a number that helps to identify the elements grouped within it. Elements that behave similarly are listed in a vertical columns.
The basic layout for periodic table is given by Mendeleev which is continuously to be used by scientist and students around the world.

How does the Periodic Table Work?

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Periodic table is used to organize the facts about each element and its compounds. Periodic table is used to
  1. Describe the periodic table as an arrangement of the elements in the order of increasing proton (atomic) number.
  2. Describe how the position of an element in the periodic table is related to proton number and electronic structure.
  3. Explain the similarities between the elements in the same group of the periodic table in terms of their electronic structure.
  4. Describe the change from metallic to non-metallic character from left to right across a period of the periodic table.
  5. Describe the relationship between group number, number of valency electrons and metallic/non metallic character.

Periodic Table with Group Numbers

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Periodic table is the diagrammatic representation of the elements listed according to the atomic number of the elements. Metals are placed on the left of the periodic table. Non metals are placed on the right side of the periodic table. Noble gases are placed at the extreme right side. The elements found in sandal color are called metalloids. These elements have certain characteristics as metals and other characteristics as non metals.

The group names is mentioned above the column. The groups in the periodic table have traditionally been numbered with Roman numerals I to VIII.

Periodic Table with Group Numbers

Properties of the Periodic Table

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The periodic table commonly used has groups numbered 1 through 8 with each numeral followed by a letter A or B. The A groups are the representative or main group elements, The B groups are the transition elements are the lanthanides series and actinides series.They are placed at the bottom of the periodic table because of the similarity in properties.

Some of the important general summary of properties of periodic table elements are listed below.
  1. Acid forming properties increases from left to right on the periodic table.
  2. Base forming properties are high on the left side and decrease to the right.
  3. The atomic radii of elements decrease from left to right across a period.
  4. First ionization energies increase from left to right across the period.
  5. Metallic properties are greatest on the left side of the table and decrease to the right.
  6. Elements of the same group generally share certain fundamental chemical properties. Periodic table with group names are depicted in the following picture. are greatest on the right side of the table and decrease to the left.