Group (periodic table)

In chemistry, a group (also known as a family[1]) is a column of elements in the periodic table of the chemical elements. There are 18 numbered groups in the periodic table, and the f-block columns (between groups 3 and 4) are not numbered. The elements in a group have similar physical or chemical characteristics of the outermost electron shells of their atoms (i.e., the same core charge), as most chemical properties are dominated by the orbital location of the outermost electron.

There are three systems of group numbering for the groups, that often assign the same number to different groups. The modern numbering "group 1" to "group 18" has been recommended by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) since about 1990. It replaces two older incompatible naming schemes, used by the Chemical Abstract Service (CAS, more popular in the U. S.), and by IUPAC before 1990 (more popular in Europe).

Groups may also be identified by their topmost element or have a specific name. For example, group 16 is variously described as the "oxygen group" and as the "chalcogens". However, iron group usually does not mean "group 8". In chemistry it may mean either iron, cobalt, and nickel, or some other set of elements with similar chemical properties. In astrophysics and nuclear physics, it usually means those three plus chromium and manganese.

Simple Periodic Table Chart-en
In the periodic table of the elements, each numbered column is a group.

Group names

In history, several sets of group names have been used:[2][3]

Name by element Trivial name
(*=IUPAC recommended name)
Group 1 IA IA lithium family alkali metals*
Group 2 IIA IIA beryllium family alkaline earth metals*
Group 3 IIIA IIIB scandium family
Group 4 IVA IVB titanium family
Group 5 VA VB vanadium family
Group 6 VIA VIB chromium family
Group 7 VIIA VIIB manganese family
Group 8 VIII VIIIB iron family
Group 9 VIII VIIIB cobalt family
Group 10 VIII VIIIB nickel family
Group 11 IB IB copper family coinage metals
Group 12 IIB IIB zinc family
Group 13 IIIB IIIA boron family triels triels from Greek tri (three, III)
Group 14 IVB IVA carbon family tetrels tetrels from Greek tetra (four, IV)
Group 15 VB VA nitrogen family pentels, pnictogens* pentels from Greek penta (five, V)
Group 16 VIB VIA oxygen family chalcogens*
Group 17 VIIB VIIA fluorine family halogens*
Group 18 0 VIIIA helium family or neon family noble gases*

Some other names have been proposed and used without gaining wide acceptance: "volatile metals" for group 12; "icosagens" for group 13; "crystallogens", "adamantogens", and "merylides" for group 14; and "aerogens" for group 18.

CAS and old IUPAC numbering (A/B)

Two earlier group number systems exist: CAS (Chemical Abstracts Service) and old IUPAC. Both use numerals (Arabic or Roman) and letters A and B. Both systems agree on the numbers. The numbers indicate approximately the highest oxidation number of the elements in that group, and so indicate similar chemistry with other elements with the same numeral. The number proceeds in a linearly increasing fashion for the most part, once on the left of the table, and once on the right (see List of oxidation states of the elements), with some irregularities in the transition metals. However, the two systems use the letters differently. For example, potassium (K) has one valence electron. Therefore, it is located in group 1. Calcium (Ca) is in group 2, for it contains two valence electrons.

In the old IUPAC system the letters A and B were designated to the left (A) and right (B) part of the table, while in the CAS system the letters A and B are designated to main group elements (A) and transition elements (B). The old IUPAC system was frequently used in Europe, while the CAS is most common in America. The new IUPAC scheme was developed to replace both systems as they confusingly used the same names to mean different things. The new system simply numbers the groups increasingly from left to right on the standard periodic table. The IUPAC proposal was first circulated in 1985 for public comments,[2] and was later included as part of the 1990 edition of the Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry.[5]

See also


  1. ^ "The Periodic Table Terms". Retrieved 2018-09-15.
  2. ^ a b Fluck, E. (1988). "New Notations in the Periodic Table" (PDF). Pure Appl. Chem. IUPAC. 60 (3): 431–436. doi:10.1351/pac198860030431. Retrieved 24 March 2012.
  3. ^ IUPAC (2005). "Nomenclature of inorganic chemistry" (PDF).
  4. ^ "The constitution of group 3 of the periodic table". IUPAC. 2015-12-18.
  5. ^ Leigh, G. J. Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry: Recommendations 1990. Blackwell Science, 1990. ISBN 0-632-02494-1.

Further reading

  • Scerri, E. R. (2007). The periodic table, its story and its significance. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-530573-9.

Argon is a chemical element with symbol Ar and atomic number 18. It is in group 18 of the periodic table and is a noble gas. Argon is the third-most abundant gas in the Earth's atmosphere, at 0.934% (9340 ppmv). It is more than twice as abundant as water vapor (which averages about 4000 ppmv, but varies greatly), 23 times as abundant as carbon dioxide (400 ppmv), and more than 500 times as abundant as neon (18 ppmv). Argon is the most abundant noble gas in Earth's crust, comprising 0.00015% of the crust.

Nearly all of the argon in the Earth's atmosphere is radiogenic argon-40, derived from the decay of potassium-40 in the Earth's crust. In the universe, argon-36 is by far the most common argon isotope, as it is the most easily produced by stellar nucleosynthesis in supernovas.

The name "argon" is derived from the Greek word ἀργόν, neuter singular form of ἀργός meaning "lazy" or "inactive", as a reference to the fact that the element undergoes almost no chemical reactions. The complete octet (eight electrons) in the outer atomic shell makes argon stable and resistant to bonding with other elements. Its triple point temperature of 83.8058 K is a defining fixed point in the International Temperature Scale of 1990.

Argon is produced industrially by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Argon is mostly used as an inert shielding gas in welding and other high-temperature industrial processes where ordinarily unreactive substances become reactive; for example, an argon atmosphere is used in graphite electric furnaces to prevent the graphite from burning. Argon is also used in incandescent, fluorescent lighting, and other gas-discharge tubes. Argon makes a distinctive blue-green gas laser. Argon is also used in fluorescent glow starters.

Chemical element

A chemical element is a species of atom having the same number of protons in their atomic nuclei (that is, the same atomic number, or Z). For example, the atomic number of oxygen is 8, so the element oxygen consists of all atoms which have exactly 8 protons.

118 elements have been identified, of which the first 94 occur naturally on Earth with the remaining 24 being synthetic elements. There are 80 elements that have at least one stable isotope and 38 that have exclusively radionuclides, which decay over time into other elements. Iron is the most abundant element (by mass) making up Earth, while oxygen is the most common element in the Earth's crust.Chemical elements constitute all of the ordinary matter of the universe. However astronomical observations suggest that ordinary observable matter makes up only about 15% of the matter in the universe: the remainder is dark matter; the composition of this is unknown, but it is not composed of chemical elements.

The two lightest elements, hydrogen and helium, were mostly formed in the Big Bang and are the most common elements in the universe. The next three elements (lithium, beryllium and boron) were formed mostly by cosmic ray spallation, and are thus rarer than heavier elements. Formation of elements with from 6 to 26 protons occurred and continues to occur in main sequence stars via stellar nucleosynthesis. The high abundance of oxygen, silicon, and iron on Earth reflects their common production in such stars. Elements with greater than 26 protons are formed by supernova nucleosynthesis in supernovae, which, when they explode, blast these elements as supernova remnants far into space, where they may become incorporated into planets when they are formed.The term "element" is used for atoms with a given number of protons (regardless of whether or not they are ionized or chemically bonded, e.g. hydrogen in water) as well as for a pure chemical substance consisting of a single element (e.g. hydrogen gas). For the second meaning, the terms "elementary substance" and "simple substance" have been suggested, but they have not gained much acceptance in English chemical literature, whereas in some other languages their equivalent is widely used (e.g. French corps simple, Russian простое вещество). A single element can form multiple substances differing in their structure; they are called allotropes of the element.

When different elements are chemically combined, with the atoms held together by chemical bonds, they form chemical compounds. Only a minority of elements are found uncombined as relatively pure minerals. Among the more common of such native elements are copper, silver, gold, carbon (as coal, graphite, or diamonds), and sulfur. All but a few of the most inert elements, such as noble gases and noble metals, are usually found on Earth in chemically combined form, as chemical compounds. While about 32 of the chemical elements occur on Earth in native uncombined forms, most of these occur as mixtures. For example, atmospheric air is primarily a mixture of nitrogen, oxygen, and argon, and native solid elements occur in alloys, such as that of iron and nickel.

The history of the discovery and use of the elements began with primitive human societies that found native elements like carbon, sulfur, copper and gold. Later civilizations extracted elemental copper, tin, lead and iron from their ores by smelting, using charcoal. Alchemists and chemists subsequently identified many more; all of the naturally occurring elements were known by 1950.

The properties of the chemical elements are summarized in the periodic table, which organizes the elements by increasing atomic number into rows ("periods") in which the columns ("groups") share recurring ("periodic") physical and chemical properties. Save for unstable radioactive elements with short half-lives, all of the elements are available industrially, most of them in low degrees of impurities.

Electron configuration

In atomic physics and quantum chemistry, the electron configuration is the distribution of electrons of an atom or molecule (or other physical structure) in atomic or molecular orbitals. For example, the electron configuration of the neon atom is 1s2 2s2 2p6, using the notation explained below.

Electronic configurations describe each electron as moving independently in an orbital, in an average field created by all other orbitals. Mathematically, configurations are described by Slater determinants or configuration state functions.

According to the laws of quantum mechanics, for systems with only one electron, a level of energy is associated with each electron configuration and in certain conditions, electrons are able to move from one configuration to another by the emission or absorption of a quantum of energy, in the form of a photon.

Knowledge of the electron configuration of different atoms is useful in understanding the structure of the periodic table of elements. This is also useful for describing the chemical bonds that hold atoms together. In bulk materials, this same idea helps explain the peculiar properties of lasers and semiconductors.

Glossary of chemistry terms

This glossary of chemistry terms is a list of terms and definitions relevant to chemistry, including chemical laws, diagrams and formulae, laboratory tools, glassware, and equipment. Chemistry is a physical science concerned with the composition, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions; it has an extensive vocabulary and a significant amount of jargon.

Note: All periodic table references refer to the IUPAC Style of the Periodic Table.


A Group is a number of people or things that are located, gathered, or classed together.

Index of chemistry articles

Chemistry (from Egyptian kēme (chem), meaning "earth") is the physical science concerned with the composition, structure, and properties of matter, as well as the changes it undergoes during chemical reactions.Below is a list of chemistry-related articles. Chemical compounds are listed separately at list of organic compounds, list of inorganic compounds or list of biomolecules.


Neon is a chemical element with symbol Ne and atomic number 10. It is a noble gas. Neon is a colorless, odorless, inert monatomic gas under standard conditions, with about two-thirds the density of air. It was discovered (along with krypton and xenon) in 1898 as one of the three residual rare inert elements remaining in dry air, after nitrogen, oxygen, argon and carbon dioxide were removed. Neon was the second of these three rare gases to be discovered and was immediately recognized as a new element from its bright red emission spectrum. The name neon is derived from the Greek word, νέον, neuter singular form of νέος (neos), meaning new. Neon is chemically inert, and no uncharged neon compounds are known. The compounds of neon currently known include ionic molecules, molecules held together by van der Waals forces and clathrates.

During cosmic nucleogenesis of the elements, large amounts of neon are built up from the alpha-capture fusion process in stars. Although neon is a very common element in the universe and solar system (it is fifth in cosmic abundance after hydrogen, helium, oxygen and carbon), it is rare on Earth. It composes about 18.2 ppm of air by volume (this is about the same as the molecular or mole fraction) and a smaller fraction in Earth's crust. The reason for neon's relative scarcity on Earth and the inner (terrestrial) planets is that neon is highly volatile and forms no compounds to fix it to solids. As a result, it escaped from the planetesimals under the warmth of the newly ignited Sun in the early Solar System. Even the outer atmosphere of Jupiter is somewhat depleted of neon, although for a different reason. It is also lighter than air, causing it to escape even from Earth's atmosphere.

Neon gives a distinct reddish-orange glow when used in low-voltage neon glow lamps, high-voltage discharge tubes and neon advertising signs. The red emission line from neon also causes the well known red light of helium–neon lasers. Neon is used in some plasma tube and refrigerant applications but has few other commercial uses. It is commercially extracted by the fractional distillation of liquid air. Since air is the only source, it is considerably more expensive than helium.

Period (periodic table)

A period in the periodic table is a row of chemical elements. All elements in a row have the same number of electron shells. Each next element in a period has one more proton and is less metallic than its predecessor. Arranged this way, groups of elements in the same column have similar chemical and physical properties, reflecting the periodic law. For example, the alkali metals lie in the first column (group 1) and share similar properties, such as high reactivity and the tendency to lose one electron to arrive at a noble-gas electronic configuration. As of 2016, a total of 118 elements have been discovered and confirmed.

Modern quantum mechanics explains these periodic trends in properties in terms of electron shells. As atomic number increases, shells fill with electrons in approximately the order shown at right. The filling of each shell corresponds to a row in the table.

In the s-block and p-block of the periodic table, elements within the same period generally do not exhibit trends and similarities in properties (vertical trends down groups are more significant). However, in the d-block, trends across periods become significant, and in the f-block elements show a high degree of similarity across periods.

Periodic table forms
Sets of elements
See also

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