The periodic table is one of the most important reference tables in science that serves to list all the types of atoms that make up our physical world.

Since ancient times, people and scientists have been busy finding the last building blocks of matter. In the 20th century, this task was accomplished and we now know that everything is made of atoms. In total there are 92 natural atoms of different types that join together to teach us the complex shapes of matter around us.

Due to the need to classify and identify the relationships between these atoms, the periodic table was created, in which all chemical elements were arranged according to atomic number. These values ​​are arranged in a grid pattern with a total of 18 columns called “groups” and 7 rows called “periods.” When elements are arranged in this way, periodicity can be observed in their properties, according to similarities in electron configuration.

Here we will explain to you what the periodic table is used for and why it is so necessary, not only for hanging in chemistry laboratories and in school classrooms, but also for use in various professional and industrial fields.

What is the periodic table and what is it for?

The periodic table of elements is an informational matrix that organizes all known chemical elements. Due to its importance and complexity. This scientific tool is used to apply in different areas and situations, such as: further expanding research on atoms and elements, classifying an element according to its type, predicting and classifying new elements, etc. But let’s see a bit in detail what else the periodic table is for.

Know the names and symbols of the elements

By using the periodic table, you can trace the actual name of an element, from its shortened name. All chemical reactions are written using abbreviated names of elements, and the periodic table can identify the actual element of each, based on the symbol used. By checking the atomic number associated with the symbol, the actual element can be identified.

Know the atomic weight of the elements

When it is required to find the atomic weight of any element, the periodic table shows it in the square boxes assigned to each element. Atomic weight values ​​are required for most calculations performed in the area of ​​analytical chemistry.

Know the atomic number of the elements

You can find the atomic number of any element in the periodic table. This value is the number of protons that make up its nucleus, which is equal to the number of electrons that revolve around it. In the square that denotes each element in the periodic table, the atomic numbers are printed at the top.

Know the electronic configuration of the elements

By knowing the atomic number of the element in the periodic table and the group to which it belongs, it is possible to deduce what the electronic configuration of the element is. You can also tell if an element is a metal, nonmetal, metalloid, or a noble element from its position on the periodic table.

It is used in medicine

Biologists and health professionals use their knowledge about the use of the periodic table to manufacture drugs and special devices or equipment for use in the field of medicine. As an example we can name the metallic Uranium, which is necessary to carry out X-ray radiographs. We can also mention the heads of ionized Helium that is used in surgeries to treat brain malformations and ocular tumors.

It is used in industries

This informative table is also used in various industrial fields, to know the reaction of the chemical elements that will be used in each area. For example, in the oil industry, Rhenium serves as a catalyst for the reactions of the refining process. On the other hand, Hydrogen in its liquid state, serves to activate the propulsion of space rockets. We also found that in jewelry and other areas, Platinum is used to minimize the emission of toxic gases. etc.

In education

From high school to chemistry, medicine and biology classes at the university, the periodic table plays a very important role in helping students to know and use the different chemical elements, to know their configuration, structure, as well as the number and the atomic weight of the elements that make it up.

How is the periodic table organized?

Columns and rows : the groups are the 7 vertical columns consisting of 18 groups, while the horizontal rows represent the 7 periods. For example: the elements of group 18 are noble gases, while the elements of group 17 are halogens.

Atomic number : it is the one that appears on each elemental symbol of the periodic table, it is exclusive and represents the number of protons that the nucleus of that element contains. For example, hydrogen is identified with the atomic number 1, this means that it has a proton in its nucleus.

Trends : it is organized into three large groups: metals, non-metals and metalloids, where most of the elements are metals. The different subgroup of metals that make them up are: alkali metals, alkaline earth metals, lanthanides, actinides, transition metals, post-transition metals, metalloids, halogens, non-metals and noble gases.

The importance of the periodic table in everyday life

In our daily life, the periodic table has become an indispensable tool for many areas of work and in the industrial field, since it helps to know what elements to use to launch the different products and services that the population lives on. Here we will name just a few examples.

The information from the periodic table about tin shows us that it is useful for soldering electrical circuits. Along with copper and iron, it has been seen that it also serves to form the layer to preserve drinks and food.

Cadmium is another example that, in combination with copper, shows us that it is used to make power lines. Scientists have also proven its effectiveness in making batteries, glass, and fireworks in the form of salts.

Silver, for its part, is known to be used in jewelry and does not pose any health risk. It is also used for coin making and as a component in electronic equipment.

In everyday life in school and university classrooms, it is where you interact the most with the periodic table. All chemistry teachers use it at different levels, to teach in Biology, Medicine, Chemistry or Science courses.

In the daily life of the classrooms of the school and the university, it is where the periodic table is most interacted with. All chemistry teachers use it at different levels, to teach in Biology, Medicine, Chemistry or Science courses.

The history of the periodic table

The table has been developing as time and scientific knowledge progress, so that we can see that its history has several modifications and corrections by the scientific community.

At first it was weighed that there were only four elements: water, earth, fire and air, but with the passage of time more and more elements were found.

Döbereiner Classification (1817)

Chemist who made a report showing a relationship between the atomic mass of elements and their properties. He highlighted the similarities when grouping the elements into trios that he called “triads”.

The triad of chlorine, iodine and bromine is the best known example, showing the mass of each of the elements. In 1850 there were 20 triads and it was the first coherent classification to be achieved.

Chancourtois and Newlands Classification (1862)

In 1862 the French geologist, Chancourtois, highlighted the periodicity between the elements that made up the periodic table. In 1864, in the company of the English chemist, Newlands, they announced the Law of Octaves: the properties were repeated every eight elements.

Meyer Classification (1869)

The German chemist, Julius Lothar Meyer, highlighted the periodicity that existed in terms of atomic volume. Showing that similar elements have a similar atomic volume in relation to other elements.

Mendeleev classification

The Russian chemist, Dmitri Mendeleev, presented the first version of the periodic table in 1869. This table is known to be the first coherent table in which it showed the similarities between chemical elements.

Conclusion of the importance of the periodic table

This periodic classification, which is more than 150 years old, proves to be a theoretical feat of man who manages to order large systematic amounts of experimental data and which in turn allows to rationalize knowledge. The development of the Periodic Table of the Elements (TPE) represents an important milestone in the history of chemistry and has had a very positive impact on the progress of this science. Element properties can now be predicted and explained based on their position on the TPE.

Samantha Robson
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Dr. Samantha Robson ( CRN: 0510146-5) is a nutritionist and website content reviewer related to her area of ​​expertise. With a postgraduate degree in Nutrition from The University of Arizona, she is a specialist in Sports Nutrition from Oxford University and is also a member of the International Society of Sports Nutrition.

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