Questions tagged [elements]

A pure chemical substance consisting of a unique type of atom with a distinguished by its atomic mass.

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51
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5answers
9k views

The last element's atomic number

I was just thinking what can be the last atomic number that can exist within the range of permissible radioactivity limit and considering all other factors in quantum physics and chemical factors.
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Why do the names of most chemical elements end with -um or -ium?

Why do the names of most chemical elements end with -um or -ium for both primordial and synthetic elements?
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Why do we use helium in balloons?

While I was looking at the periodic table today, I realised that there were gases that were much lighter than helium such as hydrogen. If hydrogen is lighter than helium, why do we insist on using ...
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1answer
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Why do people often capitalize element names?

According to IUPAC rules, names of chemical elements should not be capitalized. See Wikipedia’s take on the issue: According to IUPAC, chemical elements are not proper nouns in English; ...
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1answer
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Why is beryllium transparent to x-rays?

Beryllium has other fancy applications. It is transparent to x-rays, so it's used in the windows of x-ray tubes, which need to be strong enough to hold a perfect vacuum, yet thin enough to let the ...
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Why is gold so popular in nanotechnology?

Gold is a very popular metal in nanotechnology. It is often used as a substrate in electronic applications, as a core of functionalized nanoparticles, and more. Why is gold so attractive? Why are ...
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Do the names of some elements have anything to do with planets?

There are elements like neptunium and plutonium in the periodic table. Did their discovery have anything to do with Neptune and Pluto? Or are they randomly assigned with such names?
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If you put two blocks of an element together, why don't they bond?

Say you have two lumps or blocks of an element, like lithium for example, say in the form of two bars. Why, when you bring the two bars together so that they touch each other, do they not instantly ...
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Is the relative natural abundance of isotopes of an element the same everywhere?

Wherever you find potassium, the isotopes are present in a set percentage that exists the same everywhere in nature, but why is that? Does it have something to do with how the element is produced?
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Will adding up protons and electrons (without neutrons) create a new element?

If protons have a positive charge and electrons have a negative charge, can we add up several protons and electrons together to create a new element, without adding neutrons to hold the nuclei ...
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What is the melting point of diamond?

Textbooks and the online reference differ about this and there are more than two answers.
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Why is a temporary name given to an element with an atomic number above 100?

All the elements with an atomic number more than 100 are given temporary names by IUPAC according to nomenclature rules. For example, element 101 was temporarily named "Unnilunium" until they give it ...
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Why is fluorine more reactive than chlorine?

Why is fluorine more reactive than chlorine despite chlorine having a higher electron affinity?
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What is the difference between an element and an atom?

First, I would like to quote sentences from a book introducing elements and atoms: An element is a fundamental (pure) form of matter that cannot be broken down to a simpler form. Elements are ...
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Is hydrogen bonding generally defined to include only three period two elements?

Traditionally, hydrogen bonding has been defined to only include interactions between a positively polarized hydrogen and three period-two elements: nitrogen, oxygen, and fluorine. Why was this ...
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Do non-English speaking countries use the same element symbols?

The question does sound pretty absurd, but hear me out first. The Periodic Table of the Elements, as I know it, is supposed to be a common standard adopted by the global scientific community. However,...
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1answer
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Which elements can be diatomic?

Which elements can be diatomic and why? Motivation Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen and the Halogens tend to be thermodynamically stable as a diatomic molecule at room temperature, and are usually ...
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Melting and boiling point trend in Group II

The following picture shows the melting and boiling point trends down group II elements. I have added question marks where the variability in data was rather disturbing (over two hundred degrees ...
13
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1answer
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Why do some element symbols contain a single letter while others contain two letters?

As the title says, why do some element symbols contain a single letter while others contain two letters?
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What makes carbon special and versatile?

My teacher told me that carbon's tetravalency and high catenation ability makes it special and is the reason why there are millions of compounds of carbon. 1) Silicon is tetravalent too but doesn't ...
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Are there any good examples of commonly ingested molecules that contain particular toxic individual elements?

In the house on my own and an article popped up on my feed with the following statement: While the Government has insisted the chemical is safe, cadmium is recognised as a cause of lung cancer ...
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If radium has such a long half-life, how can radon possibly be a threat to us?

If the probability is so low that a radium atom will decay into radon at any given time (the half-life is over 1600 years), then there will be a low amount of radon produced, granted it will be ...
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1answer
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Why are some elements more abundant than others in the universe?

Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe. But what makes it so? At the time of big bang, what made certain elements more abundant than the others? I don't find this order of abundance ...
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Can we process waste just by decomposing it to homogenous mass and extracting the elements from it?

I. e., what if we just burn trash completely or dissolve it in acid, get the resulting paste and extract pure chemical elements out of it by applying some physics and/or chemistry to it until no more ...
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Why is osmium the densest known element?

Why is osmium so dense despite there being heavier elements after it in the periodic table?
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Confusion over boiling point of gallium

I am completing a project on gallium, and I need to include its boiling point. I thought that this would be fairly simple to look up, however, it appears that different sources quote different ...
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1answer
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Is it possible that atoms with 120 protons are possible, but that atoms with 119 protons aren't possible?

We currently know that there are atoms with atomic number up to 118 are possible. Is it possible that atoms with 120 protons are possible, but that atoms with 119 protons aren't possible? Or are ...
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1answer
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What are the most extreme chemicals?

Some chemicals certainly have extraordinary properties. One can consider them extreme in a sense, that they are the prime example for a concept, or they achieve the highest or lowest values in a ...
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Elements other than carbon that can form many different compounds by bonding to themselves?

My textbook says the following: Unique among the elements, carbon can bond to itself to form extremely strong two-dimensional sheets, as it does in graphite, as well as buckyballs and nanotubes. ...
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Confusing Lines About Extinct Elements

In "The Greatest Show On Earth", author Richard Dawkins spends a chapter discussing radiometric dating. I find myself confused by the following lines, though I'm sure the reason is elementary. (...
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Why is Astatine monoatomic?

I learnt that halogens always form covalent bonds to becoms diatomic molecules. So why is astatine monoatomic? I mean they have the same properties, why shouldn't they all be diatomic?
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Does the mass of sulfur really decrease when dissolved in water and increase when burnt?

I was going through a bunch of interesting science 'facts' and one entry went this way: Name an element whose mass decreases when it is dissolved in water and increases if it is burnt. I tried ...
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Is astatine a non-metal or a metalloid?

Is astatine a non-metal or a metalloid? A metalloid is an element which exhibits some of the properties of a metal as well as those of a non metal.
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Elements which do not form oxides

I had thought that this question would be easy to answer but my searching has been unsuccessful in finding a clear answer. For the metals, I expect that they all form oxides. Some very readily, e....
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Why isn't neptunium used in nuclear reactors in nuclear power plants?

Why isn't neptunium used in nuclear reactors in nuclear power plants? Uranium is, and plutonium is. But neptunium isn't and it is in the middle of them. Is it like it is too hard to make it do ...
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Phosphorus standard state

Why is white phosphorus considered to be the standard state of phosphorus although it is only metastable? Red phosphorus is thermodynamically more stable than white phosphorus, yet it is not the ...
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Why is arsenic more chemically similar to phosphorus than is nitrogen?

Why is arsenic more chemically similar to phosphorus than is nitrogen (to phosphorus)? I thought that it may be because both phosphorus and arsenic have d orbitals (albeit one has one that is filled ...
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What is the difference between “molecular mass”, “average atomic mass” and “molar mass”?

I don't understand the difference between "molecular mass" and "average atomic mass". They seem like the same thing to me. Is it that average atomic mass is just the weighted average of the "weights"/...
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Identification: was this gallium or mercury from broken thermometer?

I had accidentally broken a thermometer against my computer screen, resulting in the splash of the silvery substance seen below: I cannot remember whether the thermometer is a mercury-free ...
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Is there a way to contain fluorine gas for long term so that it can be visually observed?

Bromine, chlorine and iodine can all be sealed in a glass container for display without the elements reacting with the glass. But if you try to seal fluorine in glass I believe it will react and fog ...
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Is it possible for Hydrogen to lose its electron?

I know the basics of Chemistry and one thing I've always wondered if it is possible for Hydrogen to give up it's one electron? I know Hydrogen is eager to share its election through covalent bonds, ...
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What is dust made of?

I was cleaning my blinds today, and wanted to know what the primary components of dust are. I know that it is made of microorganisms and other particles, but I do not want to guess that it will be $\...
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How were the elements discovered before modern technology?

I recently was in need of zinc for an experiment. So I resorted to obtain it from some dry cell. But I wondered if it was pure zinc or was it $\ce{ZnO2}$ or any other compound of $\ce{Zn}$. It then ...
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1answer
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Macgyvering a Spectroscope

I am currently playing a dungeons and dragons campaign in which there are some new elements. My party, being the nerds that we are, is looking to experiment with them and attempt to discover new ones ...
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Why are potassium organic salts ever preferable to the sodium equivalents?

$\ce{KOH}$, $\ce{KCN}$, $\ce{KNO3}$, $\ce{K2CO3}$, and plenty of other potassium salts are frequently used in industry. But, as far as I can see, the sodium equivalents are also widely used, often ...
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Why don't we see these lanthanide species?

For most lanthanide metals$^{[1]}$, the stable oxidation state is III. The general electronic structure$^{[2]}$ is $$\ce{[Xe] 4f^{0}^{-14} 5s^2 5p^6 5d^{0}^{-1} 6s^2}.$$ Elements that have the d-...
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Why doesn't gold corrode? [duplicate]

As the electronic configuration of gold is [Kr] $4d^{10} 4f^{14} 5s^2 5p^6 5d^{10} 6s^1$, the valence shell is not completely full. Why doesn't gold corrode?
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Reasons for low melting point of gallium

J.D. Lee writes in Concise Inorganic Chemistry: Gallium has an unusual structure. Each atom has one closest neighbor at a distance of 2.43 Å. This remarkable structure tends towards discrete ...
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Continuous flow mass spectrometer for isotope analysis

If i took thousands of discrete samples of mineral fragments in a field study using a specialized drill, what mass-spectrometry techniques/equipment would allow me to analyse the samples as fast as ...
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Can we recycle garbage with the principles of mass spectrometry?

'Mass Spectrometry (MS) is an analytical technique that sorts ions based on their mass (or "weight"). Mass spectrometry is used for many chemical analyses, ranging from the analysis of a complex ...