100 Nano-Stories: Reading Elements!
Episode #53: How To Read An Element On The Periodic Table!
It’s your favorite material science & nanotechnology enthusiast! A couple of days ago, I explained my idea on how to improve aerogels for climate change purposes! If you’re interested to see what I cooked up there, check it out!
100 Nano-Stories: My Aerogel Idea!
Episode #50: Surface Area + Transparent Aerogels!
As much as I want to discuss more on the science behind transparent aerogels, I must clear up how to read an element on the Periodic Table! While it may look easy, it can sometimes be overlooked in the process, leading to confusion when solving for molecules! So let’s clear this up before we all look like this:
Reading Elements! 💡
For this article, let’s use the element Carbon as an example to read an element on The Periodic Table!
Now, all of these numbers and letters are not that complicated! It’s just a matter of defining what they mean! So let’s begin!
Fundamental Numbers! 🔑
At the top is the name “Carbon”, but at the bottom of the picture, it says “Carboneum”. You can ignore “Carboneum”, it is just the Latin name for “Carbon.” 😄
The big letter “C” is the atomic number symbol of the element. Carbon → C.
The “6” next to the “C” is the atomic number. The atomic number is the number of protons in the atom. The atomic number is only for protons (positively charged atoms). So there are 6 protons in the carbon atom.
The number “12.011” is the atomic mass relative of the atom. Atomic Mass Relative is the mass of an atom of an element that is in comparison to its most commonly found isotope of the element. In this case, Carbon’s most abundant isotope is Carbon-12.
Carbon is normally found as Carbon-12, an isotope of carbon that consists of 6 protons and 6 neutrons. This is where Carbon-12 gets the number “12” from. But because of this, you could say that Carbon has 12 units, or 1/12 the mass of Carbon-12.
The number “2.55” is the electronegativity of the Carbon element. Electronegativity is the chance that a pair of elections will be attached to a certain atom. If the difference between the electronegativity is greater or equal to 0.5, the molecule is polar. If the difference in electronegativity in the molecule is less than 0.5, the molecule is non-polar.
Covalent bonds occur at an electronegativity below around 1.7, and ionic bonds occur at an electronegativity equal to or greater around 1.7.
(If you want to know more on electronegativity, I will link my articles below to follow up on the concepts!)
Next-Level Concepts! 🔑
Now that we covered up the fundamental concepts in the element “Carbon”, let’s proceed with the more complicated numbers and symbols! 😄
The number “3550°” is the melting point of Carbon in Celcius. In Fahrenheit, the melting point is 6332°F, and in Kelvin, the melting point is 3773.15 K.
The number “4827°” is the boiling point of Carbon in Celcius. In Fahrenheit, the boiling point is 8720.6°F, and in Kelvin, the boiling point is 5100.15 K.
The number “2.267” is the density of the element in grams/centimeter cubed (g/cm³).
On the left of the element, there are the numbers (-2, +2, +4) in a graph. These numbers are the potential oxidization states of the element carbon. If it has a negative number, it means that the carbon element has gained electrons from another element, and if it has a positive number, it means that the carbon element has lost electrons from another element. I will discuss more on this topic in another article soon! 😉
On the right of the element, there are the numbers (4, 2) in a graph. These numbers are the distribution of electrons in the carbon atom. The order of the numbers starts from the outer electron shell to the inner electron shell. Here is a photo of the distribution of electrons in a carbon atom if you’re confused:
Finally, there are the numbers and letters (1s², 2s², 2p²) below the atomic number symbol “C”.
These are the electron configurations of the carbon atom.
An “S” Orbital looks like a circle. It is a circle because all of the electrons in that orbital are filled. An “S” orbital is known as a Sigma Bond.
A “P” Orbital is a little bit different. There are 3 ways “P” orbitals can be found: an “x-axis”, “y-axis”, and “z-axis” orbitals. A “P” bond is known as a Pi Bond.
Finally, an “S” electron configuration bond can hold up to 2 electrons, and a “P” electron configuration bond can hold up to 6 electrons. More on electron configurations in an article that I made below! 😌
Congrats reader! We’re done with the overview on the Carbon Atom! It’s over! 😂
Closing Thoughts! 💭
One of the most overlooked areas of defining a chemical sign is complete! Now you understand the amount of detail that goes behind an element in The Periodic Table of Elements!
See you tomorrow to talk about the Oxidization States of Carbon! ✌🏽
Sigma Bonds → Head-to-head overlap of atomic orbitals. The symbol for sigma is (σ).
Pi Bonds → Lateral overlap of atomic orbitals. The symbol for pi is (π).
Hybridization → Combining two things to make one new thing.
Valence Electrons → Electrons in the outer shell/last row of an atom.
S → Sigma Orbital.
P → Pi Orbital.
Atomic Number → The number of protons in the element.
Mass Number → The number of protons and neutrons in the element.
Atomic Mass Relative → The mass of an atom of an element that is in comparison to its most commonly found isotope of the element.
Isotope → A different form of the same element, but the number of neutrons is different, therefore changing the atomic mass number and the number of atoms in the nucleus.
Electronegativity → The chance that a pair of elections will be attached to a certain atom. If the difference between the electronegativity is greater or equal to 0.5, the molecule is polar. If the difference in electronegativity in the molecule is less than 0.5, the molecule is non-polar. Covalent bonds occur at an electronegativity below around 1.7, and ionic bonds occur at an electronegativity equal to or greater around 1.7.
Bonus Resources! 💻
100 Nano-Stories: Sigma & Pi Orbitals Explained!
Episode 43: 2sp3, 2sp2, 2sp, And More!
Previous “100 Nano-Stories!” 🔖
© 2021 by Carlos Manuel Jarquin Sanchez. All Rights Reserved.