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The Periodic Table

The Telluric Screw

Developed by French geologist Alexandre Béguyer de Chancourtois in 1862. Shows

relationships in terms of atomic mass.

John Newlands was British; his father was a Scottish Presbyterian minister. He was educated by
his father at home, and then studied for a year (1856) at the Royal College of Chemistry, which
is now part of Imperial College London. Later he worked at an agricultural college trying to find
patterns of behavior in organic chemistry. However, he is remembered for his search for a
pattern in inorganic chemistry.

Just four years before Mendeleev announced his periodic table, Newlands noticed that there were
similarities between elements with atomic weights that differed by seven. He called this The
Law of Octaves, drawing a comparison with the octaves of music. The noble gases (Helium,
Neon, Argon etc.) were not discovered until much later, which explains why there was a
periodicity of 7 and not 8 in Newlands table. Newlands did not leave any gaps for undiscovered
elements in his table, and sometimes had to cram two elements into one box in order to keep the
pattern. Because of this, the Chemical Society refused to publish his paper, with one Professor
Foster saying he might have equally well listed the elements alphabetically.

Julius Lothar Meyer trained at Heidelberg University under Bunsen and Kirchhoff, as did
Mendeleev. So the two scientists would certainly have known each other although neither was
aware of all the work done by the other. Meyer's roots, however, were firmly in
Germany. Meyer was just four years older than Mendeleev, and produced several Periodic
Tables between 1864-1870.

His first table contained just 28 elements, organized by their valency (how many other atoms
they can combine with). These elements were almost entirely main group elements, but in 1868
he incorporated the transition metals in a much more developed table. This 1868 table listed the
elements in order of atomic weight, with elements with the same valency arranged in vertical
lines, strikingly similar to Mendeleev’s table. Unfortunately for Meyer, his work wasn’t
published until 1870, a year after Mendeleev’s periodic table had been published. Even after
1870, Meyer and Mendeleev were still unaware of each other’s work, although Meyer later
admitted that Mendeleev had published his version first.

Meyer did contribute to the development of the periodic table in another way though. He was
the first person to recognise the periodic trends in the properties of elements, and the graph
shows the pattern he saw in the atomic volume of an element plotted against its atomic weight.

As we have seen, Mendeleev was not the first to attempt to find order within the elements, but it
is his attempt that was so successful that it now forms the basis of the modern periodic table.

Mendeleev did not have the easiest of starts in life. He was born at Tobolsk in 1834, the youngest
child of a large Siberian family. His father died while he was young, and so his mother moved
the family 1500 km to St. Petersburg, where she managed to get Dmitri into a “good school“,
recognizing his potential. In his adult life he was a brilliant scientist, rising quickly in academic
circles. He wrote a textbook, Chemical Principles, because he couldn’t find an adequate Russian

Mendeleev discovered the periodic table (or Periodic System, as he called it) while attempting to
organise the elements in February of 1869. He did so by writing the properties of the elements on
pieces of card and arranging and rearranging them until he realized that, by putting them in order
of increasing atomic weight, certain types of element regularly occurred. For example, a reactive
non-metal was directly followed by a very reactive light metal and then a less reactive light
metal. Initially, the table had similar elements in horizontal rows, but he soon changed them to fit
in vertical columns, as we see today.
Mendeleev’s Periodic table of of 1871

Not only did Mendeleev arrange the elements in the correct way, but if an element appeared to
be in the wrong place due to its atomic weight, he moved it to where it fitted with the pattern he
had discovered. For example, iodine and tellurium should be the other way around, based on
atomic weights, but Mendeleev saw that iodine was very similar to the rest of the halogens
(fluorine, chlorine, bromine), and tellurium similar to the group 6 elements (oxygen, sulphur,
selenium), so he swapped them over.

The real genius of Mendeleev’s achievement was to leave gaps for undiscovered elements. He
even predicted the properties of five of these elements and their compounds. And over the next
15 years, three of these elements were discovered and Mendeleev’s predictions shown to be
incredibly accurate. The table below shows the example of Gallium, which Mendeleev called
eka-aluminum, because it was the element after aluminum. Scandium and Germanium were the
other two elements discovered by 1886, and helped to cement the reputation of Mendeleev’s
periodic table.
The final triumph of Mendeleev’s work was slightly unexpected. The discovery of the noble
gases during the 1890s by William Ramsay initially seemed to contradict Mendeleev’s work,
until he realized that actually they were further proof of his system, fitting in as the final group
on his table. This gave the table the periodicity of 8 which we know, rather than 7 as it had
previously been. Mendeleev never received a Nobel Prize for his work, but element 101 was
named Mendelevium after him, an even rarer distinction.

Eka-aluminium (Ea) Gallium (Ga)

Atomic weight About 68 69.72
Density of solid 6.0 g/cm³ 5.9 g/cm³
Melting point Low 29.78°C
Valency 3 3
Method of discovery Probably from its spectrum Spectroscopically
Formula Ea2O3, density 5.5 Formula Ga2O3, density 5.88
Oxide g/cm3. Soluble in both acids g/cm3. Soluble in both acids
and alkalis and alkalis

A comparison of Mendeleev’s predicted “Eka-aluminium” and Gallium, discovered by Paul

Emile Lecoq in 1875

Note that both Mendeleev and Meyer received the Davy Medal for the discovery of periodic

It wasn’t until 1913, six years after Mendeleev’s death that the final piece of the puzzle fell into
place. The periodic table was arranged by atomic mass, and this nearly always gives the same
order as the atomic number. However, there were some exceptions (like iodine and tellurium,
see above), which didn’t work. Mendeleev had seen that they needed to be swapped around, but
it was Henry Moseley that finally determined why.

He fired the newly-developed X-ray gun at samples of the elements, and measured the
wavelength of X-rays given. He used this to calculate the frequency and found that when the
square root of this frequency was plotted against atomic number, the graph showed a perfect
straight line. He’d found a way to actually measure atomic number. When the First World War
broke out, Moseley turned down a position as a professor at Oxford and became an officer in the
Royal Engineers. He was killed by a sniper in Turkey in August 15, and many people think that
Britain lost a future Nobel prize winner.

Within 10 years of his work, the structure of the atom had been determined through the work of
many prominent scientists of the day, and this explained further why Moseley’s X-rays
corresponded so well with atomic number. The idea behind the explanation is that when an
electron falls from a higher energy level to a lower one, the energy is released as electromagnetic
waves, in this case X-rays. The amount of energy that is given out depends on how strongly the
electrons are attracted to the nucleus. The more protons an atom has in its nucleus, the more
strongly the electrons will be attracted and the more energy will be given out. As we know,
atomic number is also known as proton number, and it is the amount of protons that determine
the energy of the X-rays.

After years of searching, at last we had a periodic table that really worked, and the fact that we
still use it today is testament to the huge achievement of these and many other great minds of the
last two centuries of scientific discovery.

Periodic Trends

Summary of Periodic Properties of Elements

Moving Left → Right

 Atomic Radius Decreases

 Ionization Energy Increases
 Electron Affinity Generally Increases (except Noble Gas Electron Affinity Near Zero)
 Electronegativity Increases

Moving Top → Bottom

 Atomic Radius Increases

 Ionization Energy Decreases
 Electron Affinity Generally Decreases Moving Down a Group
 Electronegativity Decreases

Atomic radius
Ionization Energy
Electron Affinity:

Elements: 118 known (discovered or created). 88 natural elements.

Uranium U Myth Z=92

Titanium Ti Myth Z = 22

Chlorine Cl Chloros Z = 17

Iodine I Ioeides (purple) Z = 53

Magnesium Mg District in Thessaly Z = 12

Californium Cf California Z = 98

Curium Cm Pierre & Marie Curie Z = 96

Copernicium Cn Nicholas Copernicus Z = 112

Carbon can form many structures – Allotropes – including diamond, graphite, fullerene and

Some chemicals are named based on their latin names:

Natrium – Na – Sodium

Ferrum – Fe—Iron

Current arrangements of the periodic table:

Horizontal – period

Vertical – Group (similar properties)

IA Alkalai Metals

IIA Alkaline Earth Metals

VIA Chalcogens

VIIA Halogens

VIIA Noble gases

Metals  shiney, malleable, ductile, high melting point, sheets, wires, good conductors of heat
and electricity.
Non-metals  Not shiny, malleable or ductile. Poor conductors of heat/electricity

Metalloids  B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te, Po, At, 117

Dalton’s Atomic Theory:

1. Matter made up of tiny particles called atoms

2. All atoms of an element are similar to one another
3. Atoms of two or more elements combine to form compounds.
4. Chemical reaction involves rearrangement, separation or combination of

1897 – J.J. Thompson discovered the electron. He also came up with the “Plum pudding model
of the atom.

Rutherford tested this with helium nuclei and a gold foil. Most went straight through. Some
bounced back significantly

Results  atoms was mostly space (nuclear atom)

Proton  positive particle. # of protons = atomic number. (determined by Mosely with x-rays)

1932 Chadwick established that the rest of the mass in an atom was due to neutrons – a neutral
particle with a mass similar to the proton.

Proton 1.7 x 10-24g

Neutron 1.7 x 10-24g
electron 9.1 x 10-28g

Amu = 1/12th the mass of 12C atom. Dalton is the same and now preferred

Mass # = #protons + #neutrons

Isotopes – same # protons, different # neutrons.

Atomic mass = ∑𝑛𝑖=1 𝑓𝑖 𝑀𝑖 Where n = # of stable isotopes.

17Cl Mass = 34.97 Abundance – 0.7576 Product = 26.49amu
17Cl Mass = 36.97 Abundance = 0.2424 Product = 8.962 amu

Sum = 35.45 amu

Electron Arrangement in Atoms

Energy levels n = 1,2,3,4,5

Electron sub-levels l = 0,..,n-1; ml = -l,…,0,…,l, ms = +1/2, -1/2

Orbitals l= 0 s spherical has two electrons

P is axially symmetric 2px, 2py, 2pz -- 6 electrons

D has four lobes between (dxy, dxz, dyz) on axes dx2-y2 or on axis w/donut (dz2) 10 electrons

Fill orbitals by energy levels:

1s  2s  2p  3s 3p  4s 3d  4p  5s  4d  5p  6s  4f  5d  6p  7s 

5f  6d  7p

Fill lowest first. For p f fill single first. Can use noble gases to show lower levels, e.g., Si 
[Ne] 3s23p2

Are some exceptions  Cr has half-filled 4s and 3d orbitals due to the stability of half-filled
orbitals. Cu has a half-filled 4s with filled 3d orbitals.

Valence electrons are those in the outermost energy level, eg. Na has one, Ca has 2, Cl has

These are used to build Lewis structures.