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Placing Elements in Order

How the Periodic Table was designed

Scientists have managed to place all the elements in order using the following system:
They are placed in order of increasing proton number.
Hydrogen is first with a proton number of 1.
Next the list of elements are picked out and placed into groups. Groups are defined by the number of electrons in
the outer shell of the atom.

Example: Lithium has one electron in its outer shell so is placed into Group 1. Atoms with two outer shell electrons
are placed in Group 2. There are eight groups in total.

Finally, the groups are placed next to one another to finally complete the Periodic Table:

The groups
As has already been stated there are eight groups in the Periodic Table plus, a block of elements called
theTransition Metals.
Some of the groups have special names:
Group 1: the alkali metals.
Group 2: the alkaline earth metals.
Group 7: the halogens.
Group 0 or 8: the noble gases.
The zigzag line through the Periodic Table separates the Metals on the left with the non-metals to the
right of the line.

The Periods
The horizontal rows are called Periods.
Period 3 contains Sodium(Na), Magnesium(Mg), Aluminium(Al), Silicon(Si), Phosphorus(P), Sulphur(S), Chlorine(Cl)
and Argon(Ar).
The Periods represent the energy shell these atoms outer electrons are located within.
Period 3 elements all have their outer electrons in the third energy level/shell.
Period 2 elements have their outer electrons in the second energy shell, and so on.

The transition metals

These atoms have more complicated electronic configurations. They are found in the long block in the middle of the
periodic table:

The Noble Gases and Halogens


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The noble gases
This group contains helium, neon, krypton, xenon and radon.
They are different to elements belonging to other groups due to their resistance to form compounds. The reason
behind their unreactivity is their full outer shells that give stability to the atoms.

Although they have similar properties they are not identical. For example, as you descend Group 0 the density of the
gas increases as does the mass of a single atom.
Group VII - The halogens
Fluorine, chlorine, bromine and iodine make up the family of halogens. The last three being the most common. All the
halogens exist as molecules, bonding covalently to their own atoms - adding stability as they complete their full outer

They all form coloured vapours:
Chlorine - green.
Bromine - red/brown.
Iodine - purple.
Melting points and boiling points are relatively low due to molecules been held together by weak inter-molecular
forces. As you descend the group the melting and boiling point increases as the attraction between molecules gets
As with the noble gases, the halogens do have similar properties but not exactly the same ones. For example, the
reactivity of the element decreases as you descend the group.

This can be seen if we observe the reaction between iron wool and the different halogens.
So why are the halogens reactive?
The answer lies in the electronic configurations and specifically their outer shell electron configurations. The halogens
need only gain 1 electron from another atom to gain more stability.
Fluorine is the most reactive since the electron it is attempting to attract is coming into a shell closest to the positive
nucleus. Greater attraction means that it is easier to gain an extra electron - therefore it is the most reactive.
Group I and Group II
Group I - the alkali metals
Lithium, sodium and potassium all belong to Group 1.
This is because they all have 1 electron in their outer shell which is why they react in similar ways.

Soft metals that can be cut with a knife.
Low density - can float on water.
Low melting points in comparison with other metals.
They react violently (in some cases) with water to form alkaline solutions - hence the name, alkali metals.
Reactivity increases as you descend the group.
Potassium is more reactive than lithium, since although they both need to lose one electron to have full outer shells,
potassium's outer electron is furthest from the positive attractions of the nucleus. Therefore, it is easier for potassium
to lose its outer electron than it is for lithium.

Other trends:
Melting point and boiling point decreases down the group.
Group II - the alkaline earth metals
Magnesium, Calcium and Strontium all belong to Group 2.
All Group 2 elements have two outer electrons, therefore they wish to lose two when bonding to create
compounds. Losing two electrons allows them to have full outer shells, and achieve stability.

Silvery metals.
Higher melting and boiling points than Group I elements.
Less reactive than Group I elements. This is because it is more difficult to lose two electrons compared to losing just
one electron.
React with water to form alkaline solutions. Reactivity increases down the group. This is because the smaller the atom
the closer the outer electrons are to the nucleus. Therefore there is a greater attraction between the nucleus and
electrons in magnesium than there is in calcium.
Melting points and boiling points decrease down the group due to weaker forces of attraction between atoms.
Hardness increases as you descend down the group.