Chemistry Blog



May 03

My Attempt At a Periodic Table

by mitch | Categories: general chemistry | (68980 Views)

Inspired by azmanam’s recent post, Alternative Periodic Tables, I’ve decided to make my own periodic table. I freely admit I didn’t improve much on the old Mendeleev design. The only unique difference with this table is the color coding for the valence electrons


The Basics
s-blocks are blue, d-blocks are green, p-blocks are shades of purple-pink, f-blocks are red. Black are for the elements that have never been studied chemically.

The Exceptions
The d-metals that are missing an s-electron in their octet are teal (green + blue). The f-metals that have an extra d-electron are brown (green + red). The super brights Palladium and Thorium gained or lost two electrons not in their native octet.

It was always difficult for me to remember where in the periodic table the electron configurations do not conform to what I would naively assume. I would hope this type of periodic table keeps it more in the mind of students.



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  1. Paula Schramm

    Awesomeness! Thanks. I will implement this in the seminar I am teaching.

    1. Larry Z.

      Why s-block is called s-block. Does it have anything to do with the the electrons occupying s-subshell? If so, why He is not blue? Afterall, it has only two electrons and both of them occupy s-subshell. Here you go. You can make your table different from Mendeleev’s!

      1. mitch

        You’re right! Periodic table updated.

        1. Larry Z.

          This is better.
          Now, look at your s-block. It is not quite rectangular. It looks like one element is missing. On the other hand, that bump on top of p-block does not look right either, even if it is painted blue. So, d-block and f-block are perfectly rectangular and s-block and p-block are not quite rectangular, because of one element. Something is not right. It sure looks like He has to be right above Be. Isn’t it?

          1. mitch

            Nah. Helium may of been born an s-block, but its heart pumps with the activity of a group 8 p-block.

  2. azmanam

    This seems to be the fundamental conflict with periodic table design. The design of the table will be directly related to WHY you’re making the table. Mitch adds a third ‘color’ dimension to display ground state electron configuration. If you ignore properties such as these, Scerri likes just arranging just based on atomic number. As pointed out in the comments on the other thread, at that point, you need not keep any semblance of the Mendeleevian design, and you can just have a square grid encompassing the number of known elements. It’s when you try to show more than one property on the same table that you begin to run into trouble. Orbitals and reactivity? Orbitals and ionization? Another commenter wants one depicting inorganic coordination numbers.

    When you start combining properties, you’ll fail to accurately depict a trend based on a different property. No single table will (probably) be able to accurately depict all elemental properties at once. Until such a day comes, we’ll have to pick and choose based on what properties we deem important. Maybe the “perfect” way to display the periodic table is to have 3 or 4 different ones hanging on the wall next to each other!

    1. mitch

      Sounds like it’s azmanam’s turn to make a periodic table. 😉

      1. Larry Z.

        Azmanam is right, but what strikes me is not the difference between the tables buts similarities. It took years, even decades, of hard work to come up with the traditional periodic tabe. And what is most valuable about that periodic tabel is similarities in regard to the properties of the elements in each group, that is in each vertical column. Those groups remain the same in most formulations. Neils Bohr in 1930’s came up with the idea that chemical properties are direct outcome of electronic structure of the atoms and, indeed, if you build table in accordance with the electron configurations, completely disregarding chemical properties, the groups in such table will still be the same as in Mendeleev’s table, except position of He! Isn’t it remarkable?
        I think that this point is very well taken at . It is even more striking that listing maximum (n+l) values in order of atomic number Z that is described in the middle of the above referenced page, was sufficient to recreate all those groups of elements that are result of painstaking editing by generations of scientists.

        1. Larry Z.

          The web site i tried to reference did not come out.

          I need to learn how to do that.

  3. azmanam

    You asked for it… 🙂

    1. mitch

      For an organic periodic table, the phosphorus and arsenic appear to be the largest by area. :p

      1. azmanam

        Yeah, yeah, yeah

        a) I’m not fluent in GIMP. I learned how to do that today by googling fisheye.
        b) I did it in 15 minutes.
        c) Moving the center to carbon made the halogens too small for their importance.
        d) Maybe I like phosphorous and arsenic!

  4. HB

    Nice table. You ought to put in a legend, though

  1. Een praktisch periodiek systeem « Scheikundejongens

    […] Wil jij ook wel eens weten hoe de valentie elektronen opgevult worden, naarmate je verder in het periodiek systeem komt? Hier lieten we al een aantal alternatieve periodieke systemen te zien. Wat wel heel praktisch is, is een kleurcodering die de elektronconfiguratie van een element uitlegt. Van een van de schrijvers van ChemistryBlog: […]

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