Alternative periodic tables

Alternative periodic tables are tabulations of chemical elements differing significantly in their organization from the traditional depiction of the periodic system.[1][2] Several have been devised, often purely for didactic reasons, as not all correlations between the chemical elements are effectively captured by the standard periodic table.

Alternative periodic tables are developed often to highlight or emphasize different chemical or physical properties of the elements which are not as apparent in traditional periodic tables. Some tables aim to emphasize both the nucleon and electronic structure of atoms. This can be done by changing the spatial relationship or representation each element has with respect to another element in the table. Other tables aim to emphasize the chemical element isolations by humans over time.

Major alternative structures

Left-step periodic table (Janet, 1928)

Charles Janet's left-step periodic table (1928)[3] is the most significant alternative to the traditional depiction of the periodic system. It organizes elements according to orbital filling (instead of valence) and is widely used by physicists.[4]

Periodic table blocks spdf (32 column)
Left to right: s-, f-, d-, p-block in the common periodic table presentation; for sufficiently high principal quantum numbers, these blocks fill out in the order of s, p, d, and f. The left-step periodic table is organized according to a reversal of this order, so that the true order is maintained through a proper reading.

Compared to the common layout, the left-step table has these changes:

  • Helium is placed in group 2 (not in group 18).
  • Groups 1 and 2 (the s-block), including elements 119 and 120 in extended period 8, are moved to the right side of the table.
  • The s-block is shifted upwards one row, and all elements not in the s-block are now one row lower than in the standard table. For example, most of the fourth row in the standard table is the fifth row in this table.
In the result, the order is still consistently by atomic number (Z), 1–120.

ADOMAH (2006)

ADOMAH periodic table - electron orbitals (polyatomic)
The ADOMAH periodic table is based on the electron's quantum numbers

A modern version of the periodic table named the ADOMAH periodic table (2006) was constructed by Valery Tsimmerman.[5] Its structure is based on the four quantum numbers of the electron configuration, hence it has a four-dimensional base.[6]

Two-dimensional spiral (Benfey, 1964)

In Theodor Benfey's periodic table (1964), the elements form a two-dimensional spiral, starting from hydrogen, and folding their way around two peninsulas, the transition metals, and lanthanides and actinides. A superactinide island is already slotted in.[7] The Chemical Galaxy (2004) is organized in a similar way.

Three-dimensional, physicist's (Timothy Stowe)

Timothy Stowe's physicist's periodic table is three-dimensional with the three axes representing the principal quantum number, orbital quantum number, and orbital magnetic quantum number. Helium is again a group 2 element.

Three-dimensional, flower-like (Paul Giguère, 1966)

Paul Giguère's 3-D periodic table consists of four connected billboards with the elements written on the front and the back. The first billboard has the group 1 elements on the front and the group 2 elements at the back, with hydrogen and helium omitted altogether. At a 90° angle the second billboard contains the groups 13 to 18 front and back. Two more billboards each making 90° angles contain the other elements.[8][9]

Elements repeating (Ronald L. Rich, 2005)

Ronald L. Rich has proposed a periodic table where elements appear more than once when appropriate.[10] He notes that hydrogen shares properties with group 1 elements based on valency, with group 17 elements because hydrogen is a non-metal but also with the carbon group based on similarities in chemical bonding to transition metals and a similar electronegativity. In this rendition of the periodic table carbon and silicon also appear in the same group as titanium and zirconium.


A chemists' table ("Newlands Revisited") with an alternative positioning of hydrogen, helium and the lanthanides was published by EG Marks and JA Marks in 2010.[11]

Variants of the classical layout

From Mendeleev's original periodic table, elements have been basically arranged by valence (groups in columns) and the repetition therein (periods in rows). Over the years and with discoveries in atomic structure, this schema has been adjusted and expanded, but not changed as a principle.

Mendelejevs periodiska system 1871
Mendeleev's 1871 periodic table in VIII columns. Nowadays, roughly spoken, pairs of Reihen are shown as grouplabels A, B (for example: Reihen 4, 5 are written as period 3 and groups (columns) IA–VIIIA, IB–VIIIB).

The oldest periodic table is the short form table (columns I–VIII) by Dmitri Mendeleev, which shows secondary chemical kinships. For example, the alkali metals and the coinage metals (copper, silver, gold) are in the same column because both groups tend to have a valence of one. This format is still used by many, as shown by this contemporary Russian short form table, which includes all elements and element names until roentgenium.

H. G. Deming used the so-called long periodic table (18 columns) in his textbook "General Chemistry", which appeared in the USA for the first time in 1923 (Wiley), and was the first to designate the first two and the last five main groups with the notation "A", and the intervening transition groups with the notation "B".

The numeration was chosen so that the characteristic oxides of the B groups would correspond to those of the A groups. The iron, cobalt, and nickel groups were designated neither A nor B. The noble-gas group was originally attached (by Deming) to the left side of the periodic table. The group was later switched to the right side and usually labeled as group VIIIA.

Extension of the periodic table

In the extended periodic table, suggested by Glenn T. Seaborg in 1969, yet unknown elements are included up to atomic number 168. Theoretical periods above regular period 7 are added.

In the research field of superatoms, clusters of atoms have properties of single atoms of another element. It is suggested to extend the periodic table with a second layer to be occupied with these cluster compounds. The latest addition to this multi-story table is the aluminium cluster ion Al
, which behaves like a multivalent germanium atom.[12]


Spiral Periodic Table

Spiral periodic table (Robert W Harrison)

The Ring Of Periodic Elements (TROPE)

The Ring Of Periodic Elements (TROPE)

The chemical elements and their periodic relationships

Curled ribbon periodic table (J. F. Hyde)

Circular form of periodic table

Circular periodic table

Alternative circular periodic table

Alternative circular periodic table

Periodic table (spiral format)

Spiral periodic table (Jan Scholten)

Mendeleev flower

Mendeleev's Flower (Flower periodic table)

Periodic table in binary electron shells layout, designed by Eric William McPherson

Binary electron shells periodic table

Periodic system Stowe format

"Stowe" periodic table

Periodic system Zmaczynski&Bayley

"Zmaczynski & Bayley" periodic table

ADOMAH periodic table - electron orbitals (polyatomic)

ADOMAH periodic table (V. Tsimmerman)


Newlands revisited

Periodic system Pyramid format

Pyramidal periodic table

Stowe-Janet-Scerri PeriodicTable

Stowe–Janet–Scerri with 3D electron orbitals


4D Stowe–Janet–Scerri periodic table


  1. ^ E. R. Scerri. The Periodic Table, Its Story and Its Significance. Oxford University Press, New York, 2006, ISBN 0195345673.
  2. ^ Henry Bent. New Ideas in Chemistry from Fresh Energy for the Periodic Law. AuthorHouse, 2006, ISBN 978-1-4259-4862-7.
  3. ^ "Left Step Periodic Table". 1928. Retrieved 2014-02-15.
  4. ^ Stewart, Philip J. (2009). "Charles Janet: Unrecognized genius of the periodic system". Foundations of Chemistry. 12: 5–15. doi:10.1007/s10698-008-9062-5.
  5. ^ Tsimmerman, Valery (2006). "ADOMAH Periodic Table". Retrieved 2014-02-16.
  6. ^ Tsimmerman, Valery (2008). "Periodic Law can be understood in terms of the Tetrahedral Sphere Packing!". Retrieved 2014-02-16. creation of the first man, Adam, from the dust of the earth, in Hebrew, Adomah
  7. ^ Benfey's table appears in an article by Glenn Seaborg, "Plutonium: The Ornery Element", Chemistry, June 1964, 37 (6), 12–17, on p. 14.
  8. ^ Mazurs, E. G. (1974). Graphical Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years. Alabama: University of Alabama Press. p. 111. ISBN 978-0-8173-3200-6.
  9. ^ The animated depiction of Giguère's periodic table that is widely available on the internet (including here) is erroneous, as it does not include hydrogen and helium. Giguère included hydrogen, above lithium, and helium, above beryllium. See: Giguère P. A. (1966). "The 'new look' for the periodic system". Chemistry in Canada vol. 18 (12): 36–39 (see p. 37).
  10. ^ Rich, Ronald L. (2005). "Are Some Elements More Equal Than Others?". J. Chem. Educ. 82 (12): 1761. Bibcode:2005JChEd..82.1761R. doi:10.1021/ed082p1761.
  11. ^ Marks, E. G.; Marks, J. A. (2010). "Newlands revisited: A display of the periodicity of the chemical elements for chemists". Foundations of Chemistry. 12: 85–93. doi:10.1007/s10698-010-9083-8.
  12. ^ Amato, Ivan (November 21, 2006). "Beyond The Periodic Table Metal clusters mimic chemical properties of atoms". Chemical & Engineering News.

Further reading

  • A 1974 review of the tables then known is considered a definitive work on the topic: Mazurs, E. G. Graphical Representations of the Periodic System During One Hundred Years. Alabama; University of Alabama Press, 1974, ISBN 0-8173-3200-6.
  • Hjørland, Birger (2011). The periodic table and the philosophy of classification. Knowledge Organization, 38(1), 9–21.

External links

History of the periodic table

The periodic table is an arrangement of the chemical elements, which are organized on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations and recurring chemical properties. Elements are presented in order of increasing atomic number. The standard form of the table consists of a grid with rows called periods and columns called groups.

The history of the periodic table reflects over two centuries of growth in the understanding of chemical properties, with major contributions made by Antoine-Laurent de Lavoisier, Johann Wolfgang Döbereiner, John Newlands, Julius Lothar Meyer, Dmitri Mendeleev, and Glenn T. Seaborg.

Otto Theodor Benfey

Otto Theodor Benfey (born 31 October 1925) is a chemist and historian of science. Sent to England to escape Nazi Germany at age 10, he completed his education as a chemist at University College London before moving to the United States. A Quaker and a pacifist, Benfey taught at Haverford College, Earlham College, and Guilford College, retiring in 1988 as the Dana Professor of Chemistry and History of Science, Emeritus.

Benfey is known for his work on chemical education and the history of science. He edited the ACS-sponsored high school magazine Chemistry for fifteen years. His translations include The Japanese and Western Science by Masao Watanabe, The History of the International Chemical Industry by Fred Aftalion, and My 132 Semesters of Chemistry Studies by Vladimir Prelog. His books include From vital force to structural formulas (1964), Introduction to Organic Reaction Mechanisms (1970), and Robert Burns Woodward. Architect and Artist in the World of Molecules (2001).

Periodic table forms
Sets of elements
See also

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