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How It Works Book of the Elements

How It Works Book of the Elements

How It Works Book of the Elements 5th Edition

The periodic table is the ultimate guide to the elements, organised by atomic number and electron configuration. In How It Works Book Of The Elements, take a more in-depth look at every known element and discover the history behind key discoveries. You will learn everything you need to know about the universe’s building blocks right here. Featuring: An introduction to the elements - Electrons, atoms, compounds and much more explained. Elements – a history - Key discoveries and people from the past 400 years. All elements covered - All 118 discovered elements explored. Element information - Atomic numbers, oxidation states, electron configurations and more for each element.

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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd
R 114,19

in this issue

13 min
the alkali metals

In contrast with the uniqueness of hydrogen and the varied properties you find in some other groups of the periodic table, the alkali metals exhibit particularly strong family resemblances. All are solid, but so_, at room temperature; all are shiny metals that have to be kept under oil or in inert atmospheres because they are very reactive. With the exception of the radioactive and extremely rare francium, these shiny metals react rapidly with oxygen in the air, so that their surfaces quickly become dull. Their shininess is revealed again if you cut them with a knife. Caesium is the most chemically reactive of all the elements in this group, and spontaneously catches fire in air. The atoms of these elements all have just one electron in their outer shell (s1) – and…

22 min
the noble gases

The elements of Group 18 of the periodic table – the noble gases – are all very inert (unreactive) gases – although they can be made to form compounds, albeit only with difficulty. Radon, the heaviest naturally occurring noble gas, is highly radioactive. All of the naturally occurring elements of Group 18 were either discovered or first isolated by Scottish chemist William Ramsay. This group also includes element 118, which has the temporary name “ununoctium” (1-1-8-ium). Element 118 does not occur naturally, but has been created in nuclear laboratories; it features with the other transuranium elements, on pages 164–171. The inertness of the noble gases is explained by the fact that all these elements have filled electron shells; this is also why they appear at the extreme right-hand end of the…

8 min
group 6 | the transition metals

ATOMIC NUMBER: 24 ATOMIC RADIUS: 140 pm OXIDATION STATES: -2, -1, +1, +2, +3, +4, +5, +6 ATOMIC WEIGHT: 52.00 MELTING POINT: 1,860ºC (3,380ºF) BOILING POINT: 2,672ºC (4,840ºF) DENSITY: 7.19 g/cm3 ELECTRON CONFIGURATION: [Ar] 3d5 4s1 Group 6 of the periodic table includes two well-known metals – chromium and tungsten – and one less well-known metal, molybdenum. It also includes seaborgium, a radioactive element that does not exist naturally, and features in the section on the transuranium elements, on pages 164–171. Chromium – the twenty-first most abundant element in Earth’s crust – was discovered in 1797, by Nicolas-Louis Vauquelin, who also discovered beryllium. Vauquelin was investigating a bright orange mineral called red lead, which had been discovered in a mine in Siberia in the 1760s. He carried out various chemical investigations on the mineral, producing a range of intriguing…

16 min
the nitrogen group

As is true for the elements of Group 14, the elements of Group 15 vary considerably in their properties – in this case, from the non-metals nitrogen and phosphorus, through the metalloids arsenic and antimony, to the “poor metal” bismuth. This group also includes element 115, which has the temporary name “ununpentium” (1-1-5-ium). Element 115 does not occur naturally, but has been created in nuclear laboratories; it features with the other transuranic elements, on pages 164–171. Nitrogen and phosphorus are extremely important to all life on Earth, and as a result, are both essential ingredients in fertilizers. Nitrogen is a defining ingredient in all proteins and DNA (deoxyribonucleic acid); phosphorus is also a crucial part of DNA, and also of life’s system of energy “currency” – the two molecules ATP (adenosine…

13 min
the transuranium elements

A transuranium element is any element with an atomic number greater than 92 (the atomic number of uranium). All atoms of a particular element have the same atomic number – the number of protons in the nucleus of its atoms (see page 10) – so every uranium atom has 92 protons in its nucleus. Until the 1930s, scientists supposed that uranium was the heaviest element that could exist. But advances in the understanding and technology of nuclear physics have led to the artificial creation of transuranium elements in laboratories, nuclear reactors, nuclear explosions and particle accelerators. As of 2012, 26 transuranium elements – with atomic numbers from 93 to 118 – had been created. Six of them (93 to 98) have also been found occurring naturally, in tiny quantities, inside ores…

15 min
group 11 | the transition metals

ATOMIC NUMBER: 29 ATOMIC RADIUS: 135 pm OXIDATION STATES: +1, +2, +3, +4 ATOMIC WEIGHT: 63.55 MELTING POINT: 1,085ºC (1,985ºF) BOILING POINT: 2,656ºC (4,650ºF) DENSITY: 8.94 g/cm3 ELECTRON CONFIGURATION: [Ar] 3d10 4s1 Group 11 of the periodic table includes three transition metal elements that often occur naturally in their “native” state, uncombined with other elements: copper, silver and gold. It also includes the radioactive element roentgenium, which is not found in nature, and which has an atomic number higher than uranium’s. Roentgenium is therefore featured in the section on transuranium elements, on pages 164–171. Copper is the twentysixth most abundant element in Earth’s crust. Because it occurs as a native element, copper was known to ancient people; the oldest known artefacts made of copper are about 10,000 years old. Copper was first smelted from its ores around 7,000 years…