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Of all the elements of the periodic table, "most" elements with valences of four or less are solids, with most of these being either "metals" or "semiconductors."

On the right hand side of the periodic table, most of the elements are gases at room temperature.

There are only a "handful" of elements that are liquids (at room temperature). The one I can think of is mercury, and maybe there are one or two others that I have missed. Is there a reason why there are so few?

The reason I'm asking is because I expect the qualities of elements to fall on a spectrum. 1)At low temperatures, I expect a lot of solids. 2) At high temperatures, I expect a lot of liquids or gases. At room temperature, most items are solids (case 1). A fair number are gases (case 2). But few are the "intermediate" (liquid) case. Why is that?

The gist of the other question is, what qualifications cause an item to be a solid, liquid or gas at room temperature. My question is, why are these "qualifications" distributed as they are, in a seemingly "bipolar" manner? It would be like asking, why at a certain university, most GPA's are around 3.0, the second most around 4.0, but there are very few 3.5s (the intermediate case).


marked as duplicate by Mithoron, pentavalentcarbon, Todd Minehardt, airhuff, Tyberius Feb 23 '18 at 16:25

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  • $\begingroup$ @Mithoron How does that answer the question "Why are most atoms solids or gases but not liquids at room temperature?" Can you quote a specific part from the accepted answer you linked to that answers this question. $\endgroup$ – Gaurang Tandon Feb 23 '18 at 1:05
  • $\begingroup$ My question was edited to show why it is not a duplicate. $\endgroup$ – Tom Au Feb 23 '18 at 2:46
  • 2
    $\begingroup$ Like you said, the qualities of elements fall on a spectrum. And the spectrum is simple: a huge field for solid from minus infinity to certain temperature, then a narrow field for liquid (sometimes missing altogether), then another broad field for gas, from certain temperature to plus infinity. Where would you end up? $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Feb 23 '18 at 5:38
  • $\begingroup$ sigh And maybe you'll ask why is our "room temperature" typically defined as 25 °C? Or maybe why are metals high melting? Or why are there so many of metals? How do you imagine your desired answer really? $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Feb 23 '18 at 14:47

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