The Periodic Table is an amazing collection of what our world offers. And it is organized in a table so one can understand the relationship of one element to another. For instance, as you move down the table, every row adds an orbital or sphere. At this time, there is a maximum of seven electron orbitals. Amazingly, just four of these elements; carbon, oxygen, hydrogen and nitrogen make up about 96% of the human body. And the first 18 elements (the first three rows) make up most of the matter in the cosmos!
What's truly fascinating is that the Periodic Table is constantly changing, with new elements being added all the time. Of the 118 known elements, 94 have been found naturally on Earth. The other 24 do not occur naturally, and instead have been made in a lab through a new chemical technique or scientific process that adds protons onto the nuclei until the total proton count is one that’s never been reached before. Hence the bottom row of the Periodic Table are "recently" created elements such as nihonium, moscovium, tennessine and oganesson.
With all the new elements, this quiz may be more challenging than it was when you were in high school. And a word of warning: these questions get harder as you continue the quiz. Up for the challenge? Show your true brainiac self by taking the quiz now!
Mercury is mesmerizing. This liquid metal rarely occurs in its elemental form in nature, but can be found as droplets in cinnabar (mercury sulfide) ores. The metal is obtained by heating cinnabar in a current of air and condensing the vapor.
Hydrogen is a colorless, odorless gas with the lowest density of all gases. This is why one of its first practical uses included filling balloons and airships. Today, hydrogen-powered fuel cells are increasingly being seen as clean energy sources and are being used in some transportation vehicles.
‘Helios’, the Greek word for the sun, was the inspiration for naming helium as it was in the sun's corona that helium was first detected. Because it is not very volatile, helium is used to provide a protective atmosphere for making fiber optics and semiconductors, and for arc welding.
When you think of how to spell thorium, think of Thor and his power. Thorium, when combined with magnesium, adds strength and creep resistance at high temperatures. India and China are in the process of developing nuclear power plants with thorium reactors, but this is still a very new technology.
Sodium is a soft metal that tarnishes within seconds of being exposed to the air. You may remember a common science experiment in high school that included a very small piece of sodium that exploded when mixed with water.
Potassium is essential to life. Potassium ions are found in all cells and maintains fluid and electrolyte balance.%0DAgricultural land, from which harvests are taken every year, needs to have its potassium replenished by adding potassium-based fertilizers.
When carbon combines with hydrogen, hydrocarbons can be extracted naturally as fossil fuels (coal, oil and natural gas). A small fraction is used for the petrochemical industries producing polymers, fibers, paints, solvents and plastics etc.
Although most people think of boron as a dark amorphous powder used as a rocket fuel igniter and in pyrotechnic flares. In nature, boron is essential for the cell walls of plants. It is not considered poisonous to animals, but in higher doses it can upset the body’s metabolism.
Ask any Millennial and they're sure to agree that the most important use of lithium is in rechargeable batteries for mobile phones, laptops, digital cameras and electric vehicles. Lithium is also used in some non-rechargeable batteries for things like heart pacemakers, toys and clocks.
More than 350 years ago, porcelain makers in China incorporated a unique peach color into their designs by means of a tungsten pigment. When it was discovered in the Western World, tungsten was instead used for the filaments of old-style incandescent light bulbs.
Iridium is a hard, silvery metal. It is almost as non-reactive as gold and has a very high melting point which makes it extremely useful as the contact for spark plugs. Iridium is the most corrosion-resistant material known.
A radioactive metal, only a few milligrams of which are made each year, Einsteinium can be obtained in milligram quantities from the neutron bombardment of plutonium in a nuclear reactor.
Platinum is used extensively for jewelry. Its main use, however, is in catalytic converters for cars, trucks and buses. This accounts for about 50% of demand each year. Platinum is also used to make optical fibers and LCDs, turbine blades, spark plugs, pacemakers and dental fillings.
Roentgenium is a man-made element of which only a few atoms have ever been created. It is made by fusing nickel and bismuth atoms in a heavy ion accelerator. Roentgenium is named after Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen, the discoverer of X-rays.
A little promethium is used in specialized atomic batteries. These are roughly the size of a drawing pin and are used for pacemakers, guided missiles and radios. Promethium can also be used as a source of X-rays and radioactivity in measuring instruments.
Molybdenum has a very high melting point and sold as a gray powder. It is used in steel alloys to increase strength, hardness, electrical conductivity and resistance to corrosion and wear.
Because bones contain calcium and radium is in the same group as calcium on the periodic table, it can be used to target cancerous bone cells. It gives off alpha particles that can kill the cancerous cells. Radium used to be used in luminous paints, but is now considered too hazardous.
Plutonium was used in several of the first atomic bombs, and is still used in nuclear weapons. Plutonium is also a key material in the development of nuclear power. It has been used as a source of energy on the Mars Curiosity Rover and the New Horizons spacecraft on its way to Pluto.
Francium was discovered in 1939 by Marguerite Perey at the Curie Institute in Paris which she rightly deduced was the missing element 87. Others challenged her results, and it was not until after World War II that she was accepted as the rightful discoverer in 1946.
Gallium is a soft, silvery-white metal, similar to aluminium. It has a high boiling point, which makes it ideal for recording temperatures that would vaporize a thermometer.
A recently added element to the Periodic Table is Moscovium. It is a highly radioactive metal, of which only a few atoms have ever been made. Currently, it is only used in research.
Oganesson, a highly radioactive metal, was discovered by scientists from the Joint Institute for Nuclear Research in Dubna, Russia, and the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory in California . The name recognizes the contributions of the Russian nuclear physicist Yuri Oganessian.
Small amounts of protactinium, a silvery, radioactive metal, are found naturally in uranium ores. it is extracted from spent fuel rods found in nuclear reactors. We now know it is a member of the sequence of elements through which uranium decays.
Europium is used in the printing of euro banknotes. It glows red under UV light, and forgeries can be detected by the lack of this red glow. Europium is excellent at absorbing neutrons, making it valuable in control rods for nuclear reactors.
Did you know that as little as 1% gadolinium can improve the workability of iron and chromium alloys, and their resistance to high temperatures and oxidation? In addition, gadolinium is excellent at absorbing neutrons, which is why it is used in the core of nuclear reactors.
Berkelium is a radioactive, silvery metal. Because it is so rare, berkelium has no commercial or technological use at present. It is made in nuclear reactors by the neutron bombardment of plutonium-239.
Americium is commonly used in smoke alarms, but has few other uses. It has the potential to be used in spacecraft batteries in the future. It is of interest as part of the decay sequence that occurs in nuclear power production.
Dubnium does not occur naturally. It is created by bombarding californium-249 with nitrogen-15 nuclei. It is a highly radioactive metal, of which only a few atoms have ever been made.
The compound, thallium sulfate is used as a rodent killer, but household use of this poison has been prohibited in most developed countries. A mercury alloy containing 8% thallium has a melting point 20°C lower than mercury alone, which is used in low temperature thermometers and switches.
Fewer than 10 atoms of meitnerium have ever been made, and it will probably never be isolated in observable quantities. It is made by bombarding bismuth with iron atoms. Meitnerium was first made in 1982 at the German nuclear research facility.
One of the newer elements of the periodic table, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry or IUPAC recently added nihonium and confirmed the discovery of this element by scientists from RIKEN (The Institute of Physical and Chemical Research) in Japan in 2015.
The gamma-ray emitting technetium-99m (metastable) is widely used for medical diagnostic studies. Several chemical forms are used to image different parts of the body. Technetium is a remarkable corrosion inhibitor for steel, and adding very small amounts can provide excellent protection.
Rubidium has been used as a component of photocells, to remove traces of oxygen from vacuum tubes and to make special types of glass. Rubidium nitrate is sometimes used in fireworks to give them a purple color.
Beryllium is used in alloys with copper or nickel to make gyroscopes, springs, electrical contacts, spot-welding electrodes and non-sparking tools. Mixing beryllium with these metals increases their electrical and thermal conductivity.
Seaborgium is created by bombarding californium-249 with oxygen-18 nuclei, thus it is radioactive metal that does not occur naturally. Only a few atoms have ever been made, and at this time it is only used in research.