Periodic Table, Its History And Why It Is Important

What is periodic table of elements and how chemical elements are organized in periodic table. Find the importance and history of the periodic table.

Sarah Taylor-

Published on 2023-05-22



What is a Periodic Table?

The periodic table is a table form arrangement of all known chemical elements, ordered by increasing atomic number and recurring chemical properties. Scientists discovered periodic trends in the physical and chemical properties of elements as they were arranged by atomic number.

The table contains 118 elements, 94 of which are found naturally on Earth and the remaining 24 are artificial and can only be produced in laboratories. The elements are arranged in rows and columns based on their electronic configuration and valence electrons, with similar elements placed in the same column.

History of the Periodic Table

The Periodic Table is one of the most important tools in chemistry, used to organize and display all known elements. The table has a long and fascinating history, with contributions from many scientists over the course of a century.

Lavoisier's Periodic Table

If we see the history of the periodic table, The first periodic table of elements was structured by a French scientist Antonie Lavoisier in 1789. He grouped the elements into two main classes - Metals and Non-metals.

Dobereiner's Periodic Table

After forty years of Lavoisier's periodic table, another scientist, Johann Wolfang Dobereiner, grouped the elements into three groups based on their similar chemical and physical properties. He called these three groups triads. 

He also proposed that the elements of the middle group possess the properties average to that of the other two groups.

John Newlands Periodic Table

In 1860, after discovering the atomic mass, British scientist John Newlands arranged the known elements based on their increasing atomic masses.

After assembling all the elements in the table, he noticed that every group of eight elements showed similar properties. He named his finding the law of octaves. The only drawback of the Newlands periodic table of elements was that it didn't possess any space for undetected elements.

Mendeleev Periodic Table

In 1866, Russian scientist Dmitri Mendeleev removed these errors and left gaps for undiscovered elements. His periodic table was the closest form of today's periodic table. However, he also arranged the elements based on their atomic masses.

The surprising thing was that he even predicted the nature of an undiscovered element (eka-aluminum at that time) that was needed to fill the gap in the table. Afterward, an element was discovered possessing the same properties Mendeleev described before, and today, the world knows that element as Gallium. 

However, the Mendeleev periodic table also contained some errors like controversial positions of some elements. That's why the Mendeleev periodic table was also rejected.

Moseley's Modern Periodic Table

In 1913, Henry Moseley discovered subatomic particles and gave the concept of atomic number. After that, he arranged the elements according to their atomic numbers. 

Moseley's periodic table was the answer to all the confusion, and this is the same periodic table we use today.

Basic Properties of Periodic Table

The periodic table is an organized arrangement of chemical elements based on their atomic number and chemical properties. It is represented as an 8×18 grid with two additional rows at the bottom, called the lanthanide and actinide series.

Each element in the periodic table is represented by its atomic symbol, atomic number, and atomic mass. The atomic number of an element increases from left to right across a row, which is called a period. The periods are numbered from 1 to 7.

The vertical columns in the periodic table are called groups. There are 18 groups in the periodic table, numbered from 1 to 18. Elements in the same group share similar properties due to the same number of valence electrons in their outermost shells.

The periodic table contains important groups such as alkali metals (group 1), alkaline earth metals (group 2), halogens (group 17), and noble gases (group 18).Elements in these groups have distinct properties, such as high reactivity in alkali metals and noble gases being inert.

The periodic table is also divided into four blocks based on the electronic configuration of the outermost shell of the elements. These blocks are named s, p, d, and f blocks. Elements in the s-block and p-block have valence electrons in the s and p subshells, while d-block and f-block elements have valence electrons in the d and f subshells, respectively.

Why is the Periodic Table Important?

The periodic table is an important tool that enables scientists to explore the chemical world around us. It is more than a set of elements. The following list of explanations for the periodic table's importance:

The periodic table helps scientists predict the chemical processes that each element will perform.

Analyze reactivity: Scientists can use the periodic table to analyze the reactivity of each element and determine their order of reactivity.

Understand periodic trends: The periodic table allows scientists to understand how the chemical properties of all the elements differ periodically from each other.

Predict properties of undiscovered elements: Scientists can make assumptions about the properties and nature of yet-to-discover elements using the periodic table.

Study atomic structure: The periodic table is utilized by scientists to examine the atomic structures of each element and to analyze their differences and similarities.

Design chemical reactions: The periodic table helps scientists design chemical reactions to produce desired cosmetic and pharmaceutical products.

In summary, the periodic table is not merely a catalog or guide to known elements, but a window to the universe that helps us understand the world around us.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is the periodic table?

The periodic table is a tabular representation of all known chemical elements, arranged according to their atomic structure and chemical properties.

What is the history of the periodic table?

The history of the periodic table dates back to the early 19th century, with the discovery of several new elements and attempts to classify them. Dmitri Mendeleev is credited with developing the modern periodic table in 1869.

Who were some of the scientists that contributed to the development of the periodic table?

Scientists who contributed to the development of the periodic table include John Dalton, Jöns Jakob Berzelius, Antoine Lavoisier, Alexandre-Émile Béguyer de Chancourtois, Julius Lothar Meyer, and Dmitri Mendeleev.

How are elements arranged in the periodic table?

Elements are arranged in the periodic table based on their atomic number, electron configuration, and chemical properties. They are organized into rows and columns, with elements in the same column having similar properties.

What are some of the basic properties of the periodic table?

Basic properties of the periodic table include the periodic law, which states that the properties of elements repeat in a predictable way based on their atomic structure, as well as trends in atomic radius, electronegativity, ionization energy, and chemical reactivity.

Why is the periodic table important?

The periodic table is important because it provides a framework for understanding the chemical behavior of elements and predicting the properties of new and undiscovered elements. It also allows scientists to classify and organize the vast number of known elements into a manageable system.

How is the periodic table used in scientific research and analysis?

The periodic table is used in scientific research and analysis to predict the behavior of chemical reactions, identify unknown substances, and design new materials and compounds. It also provides a foundation for studying the behavior of atoms and molecules in a variety of fields, including chemistry, physics, and materials science.

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