Karnataka Science and Technology Academy

Department of Science and Technology, Government of Karnataka

New Way of Ordering the Elements Proposed

2 min read

Last year we celebrated the 150th anniversary of the Periodic of Table Elements. The concept of arranging elements was created by the Russian chemist, Dmitry Mendeleev (1834-1907) in the year 1869.

Mendeleev’s periodic table consists of elements listed on the basis of the same chemical properties. Later in the beginning of 20th century, after the understanding and the development of quantum theory, the list of elements was updated according to the atomic number (number of protons) leading to the development of the modern periodic table. Most text books during 1940s  had a periodic table that we see today.

This periodic table may be an iconic method of listing elements. However, elements with less chemical similarity are placed side by side in this table and some elements found in the same column do not reflect any close relationships – for example, carbon and lead.

Zaheed Allahyari and Artem Oganov of the Skolkovo Institute of Science and Technology in Moscow have proposed a new method of listing elements. In this method elements are arranged in the same linear order,  with a slight change in the properties between each sequence pair. Using this structure, it is possible to predict which simple compounds have the same properties and also help to identify new objects with useful properties such as hardness or magnetic behavior.

This work, published in the Journal of Physical Chemistry, involves assigning Mendeleev Number (MN) to each element as in other previous proposals. There are several methods of getting MN and in there’s recent study they used two basic quantities that can be measured directly, an atomic radius of an element and a property called electronegativity (χ) which describes how strongly an atom attracts electrons to itself.

This advancement has made the periodic table not just an important educational element but a very useful tool for the discovery of new  essential  materials for researchers. Also, it enhances  our understanding of the qualities of elements and how they behave. Is it not a fun to see the periodic table now?.

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