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    Chemistry: Easy Way To Master The Modern Periodic Table Of Elements

    By Tavneet Bedi
    7 Apr'22  7 min read
    Chemistry: Easy Way To Master The Modern Periodic Table Of Elements
    Synopsis

    Knowing the modern periodic table can help you answer a range of direct and indirect questions from your course and in entrance examinations. Here are some easy mnemonics, or sentences or poems that  help you remember which element goes where on the periodic table of elements.

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    Chemistry: Easy Way To Master The Modern Periodic Table Of Elements
    Synopsis

    Knowing the modern periodic table can help you answer a range of direct and indirect questions from your course and in entrance examinations. Here are some easy mnemonics, or sentences or poems that  help you remember which element goes where on the periodic table of elements.

    You must have come across many mnemonics while growing up. Those short sentences or poems helped you remember something or the lists of things. For example, a popular mnemonic during my childhood was for the nine planets. It goes like this: “My Very Elegant Mother Just Served Us Nine Pizzas.” The words in that line begin with the same letters as the names of the planets and occur in the same order: Mercury, Venus, Earth, Mars, Jupiter, Saturn, Neptune and Pluto. Back then, Pluto was still a planet. Alas, it is not anymore. But we won’t be looking at how that happened here.

    Here, we’ll talk about the importance of remembering the periodic table, especially if you are preparing for engineering or medical entrance examinations. We will also provide you with a mnemonic device to remember it.

    Periodic Table: A Brief History

    If you are a science student, you would have come across the periodic table. It lists all the elements discovered till date, arranged according to their physical and chemical properties. The periodic table was not always like this. Much of the modern periodic table’s structure and design is attributed to Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian scientist who showed the world that elements do not exist in random clusters but show similar properties and lie in families. He is considered the creator of the modern periodic table of elements.

    Mendeleev was a genius who even predicted the existence of some elements (Gallium and Germanium) long before they were discovered. He even left gaps for those elements in the periodic table and named them Eka-Aluminium and Eka-Silicon. In recognition of his contribution, Mendeleev’s name was immortalised when the element with atomic number 101 was christened Mendelevium.

    Why Remembering The Periodic Table Is important

    Remembering the periodic table will help you answer direct as well as indirect questions related to your curriculum. Some examples below.

    • Comparing the periodic properties like size, ionisation energy, electron gain enthalpy and electronegativity

    • Predicting metallic or non metallic character

    • Predicting the valency or the formula of a set of compounds (oxides, halides, hydrides) formed by a particular family of elements

    • Comparing the chemical reactivity of elements

    • Comparing stable oxidation states of different elements on the basis of their electronic configuration

    • Comparing acidic and basic strength of oxides, hydrides etc.

    • Comparing physical properties like boiling point, melting points, enthalpy of atomisation etc. of different elements

    • Comparing the ionic and covalent nature of bonds formed between the different elements

    • Comparing oxidising and reducing nature of different species and their electrode potentials

    • Predicting similarities and differences between reactivity of elements (diagonal relationship, inert pair effect etc.

    • Comparing the complex forming ability of the different metals and also the stability of the complexes with different ligands

    • Comparing solubility of compounds( carbonates, sulfates, hydroxides etc.) in polar and non polar solvents and also thermal stability

    • Comparing the magnetic nature and formation of colored species and whether they are colored due to polarisation, charge transfer or d-d transitions

    • Knowledge of radioactive elements and which are natural and which are artificial

    • Predicting presence of minerals and ores in different parts of the earth, existence of metals together in nature (coinage metals, elements like Hf and Zr) and the complexity of their extraction or separation

    The list goes on. While a lot of these questions might require a deeper understanding of the factors at play, the first step toward solving many of these problems is, however, knowing their exact location in the periodic table. Whether it is predicting the properties of elements like Mendeleev did or the nature or formulae of compounds formed by them, remembering the periodic table goes a long way to ‘decluttering’ and understanding that elements lie together in families and display similar trends.

    Periodic Table Mnemonics

    Now, let’s find a way to remember which element is placed where on the periodic table. The vertical columns in the table are Groups and horizontal rows of elements are Periods. The elements are arranged in different blocks — s, p, d and f blocks — broadly on the basis of the filling up of valence electrons in these orbitals.

    For the sake of simplicity and also practicality, we will look at the s and p block elements group-wise and the d and f block elements period-wise.

    Periodic Table With Names: s Block Elements

    These elements belong to the first and the second Groups. They are called alkali metals and alkaline earth metals respectively, excluding Hydrogen and Beryllium

    Group 1 elements (Alkali metals)

    Elements: Hydrogen (H), Lithium (Li), Sodium (Na), Potassium (K), Rubidium (Rb) Caesium (Cs), Francium (Fr)

    Mnemonic: Hydrogen powered link route between Cyprus and France

    Group 2 elements (Alkaline earth metals)

    Elements: Beryllium (Be), Magnesium (Mg), Calcium (Ca), Strontium (Sr), Barium (Ba), Radium (Ra)

    Mnemonic: Being a mugger can surely backfire rapidly

    Periodic Table With Names: p Block Elements

    These elements occupy the Groups 13-18 and are located towards the right-hand side of the periodic table. Some special names were also given to the different families like Pnictogens (Group 15), Chalcogens (Group 16), Halogens (Group 17) and Noble gases (Group 18) on the basis of their properties.

    Group 13 elements

    Elements: Boron (B), Aluminium (Al), Gallium (Ga), Indium(In), Thallium (Tl)

    Mnemonic: Bouncers always gave Indians trouble

    Group 14 elements

    Elements: Carbon (C), Silicon (Si), Germanium (Ge), Tin (Sn), Lead (Pb)

    Mnemonic: Curious sighting of geosynchronous plumbers

    Group 15 elements (Pnictogens)

    Elements: Nitrogen (N), Phosphorus (P), Arsenic (As), Antimony (Sb), Bismuth (Bi)

    Mnemonic: New Physics assignments substituted Bio

    Group 16 elements (Chalcogens)

    Elements: Oxygen (O), Sulphur (S), Selenium (Se), Tellurium (Te), Polonium (Po)

    Mnemonic: Ostentatious and polite

    Group 17 elements (Halogens)

    Elements: Fluorine (F), Chlorine (Cl), Bromine (Br), Iodine (I), Astatine (At)

    Mnemonic: Friends call Bharti intelligent and attentive

    Group 18 elements (Noble Gases)

    Elements: Helium (He), Neon (Ne), Argon (Ar), Krypton (Kr), Xenon (Xe), Radon (Rn)

    Mnemonic: Help never arrived, Krypton xeroxed Radon

    Periodic Table With Names: d Block Elements

    These elements occupy Groups 3 -12 and are located in the central part of the periodic table. They are also called Transition elements with the exception of the Zinc family. Transition elements, by definition, have an incompletely-filled d orbital in either the ground state or at least one of the stable oxidation states and are so named because of their position between the s- and the p- block elements.

    Period 4

    Elements: Scandium (Sc), Titanium (Ti), Vanadium (V), Chromium (Cr), Manganese (Mn), Iron (Fe), Cobalt (Co), Nickel (Ni), Copper (Cu), Zinc (Zn)

    Mnemonic: Science Teachers Vinod, Criti, Madan and Feroz could not cut zinc

    Period 5

    Elements: Yttrium (Y), Zirconium (Zr), Niobium (Nb), Molybdenum (Mo), Technetium (Tc), Ruthenium (Ru). Rhodium (Rh), Palladium (Pd), Silver (Ag),Cadmium (Cd)

    Mnemonic: Yes, Zorro is from Nairobi; Most techies are from Russia; Rhodes paid for silver Cadillac

    Period 6

    Elements: Lanthanum (La), Hafnium(Hf), Tantalum (Ta), Tungsten (W), Rhenium (Re), Osmium (Os), Iridium (Ir), Platinum (Pt), Gold (Au), Mercury (Hg)

    Mnemonic: (Towards the) Later half of the war on Osama, Iran and Pakistan were audibly haggling

    Periodic Table With Names: f Block elements

    These elements belong to the Group 3 of the periodic table, also the largest group. They are called inner transition metals and many of these elements are very short-lived because of their radioactive nature.

    Lanthanides:

    Elements: Lanthanum (La), Cerium (Ce), Praseodymium (Pr), Neodymium (Nd), Promethium (Pm), Samarium (Sm), Europium (Eu), Gadolinium (Gd), Terbium (Tb), Dysprosium (Dy), Holmium (Ho), Erbium (Eu), Thulium (Tm), Ytterbium (Yb), Lutetium (Lu)

    Mnemonic: Last century presented need of product managers and social media; European garden tubs were dirty; hotel engineers traded mighty yellow buildings for luxury lunches

    Actinides:

    Elements: Actinium (Ac), Thorium (Th), Protactinium (Pa), Uranium (U), Neptunium (Np), Plutonium (Pm), Americium (Am), Curium (Cm), Berkelium (Bk), Californium (Cf), Einsteinium (Es), Fermium (Fm), Mendelevium (Md), Nobelium (No), Lawrencium (Lr)

    Mnemonic: Actually, Thor protects Uranus, Neptune and Pluto; Americans came back for coffee; Einstein, Fermi and Mendeleev are Nobel Laureates

    Mnemonics don't always have to make sense. They can make absolutely no sense, be plain stupid and still serve their purpose which is to enable us to remember complicated things. In fact, the comic element can help it be etched permanently in your brain.

    Happy learning!

    • Chemistry
    • Physical sciences
    • Nature
    • Materials
    • Atomic physics
    • Artificial materials
    • Chemical substances
    • Crystals
    • Metals

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