Group Characteristics

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THE PERIODIC TABLE DOE-HDBK-1015/1-93 Fundamentals of Chemistry CH-01 Rev. 0 Page 18 The obvious trend in the periodic table is that from left to right, across any period, the elements  change  from  distinctly  metallic  (Group  IA)  to  distinctly  nonmetallic (Group  VIIA).    This  change  in  character  is  not  sharply  defined,  but  is  gradual. Generally, elements well to the left of the heavy diagonal line are metals, and those well to  the  right are nonmetals.  Some of the elements near the line, however, exhibit properties of metals under some conditions and properties of nonmetals under other conditions.    These  elements  are  called  the  semi-metals  and  include  boron  (B), silicon  (Si),  germanium  (Ge),  arsenic  (As),  and  tellurium  (Te).    They  are  usually classified as semi-conductors of electricity and are widely used in electrical components. Group Characteristics Each set of elements appearing in the vertical column of a periodic table is called a Group and represents a family of elements that have similar physical and chemical properties.  Group IA is the Alkali Family; Group IIA is the Alkaline Earth Family; Group VIA is the Oxygen Family; Group VIIA is the Halogen Family.  On the left side of the table are Group IA elements (except hydrogen), which are soft metals that undergo similar chemical reactions.  The elements in Group IIA form similar compounds and are much harder than their neighbors in Group IA. As shown in the previous section, there are some exceptions to the generalizations concerning chemical properties and the periodic table.  The most accurate observation is that all elements within a particular group have similar physical and chemical properties. This observation is most accurate at the extreme sides of the table.  All elements in Group 0 are unreactive gases, and all elements in Group VIIA have similar chemical properties, although there is a gradual change in physical properties.  For example, fluorine (F) is a gas while iodine (I) is a solid at room temperature. Groups with a B designation (IB through VIIB) and Group VIII are called transition groups. In this region of the table, exceptions begin to appear.  Within any group in this region, all the elements are metals, but their chemical properties may differ.  In some cases, an element may be more similar to neighbors within its period than it is to elements in its group.  For example, iron (Fe) is more similar to cobalt (Co) and nickel (Ni) than it is to ruthenium (Ru) and osmium (Os).  Most of these elements have several charges, and their ions in solution are colored (ions of all other elements are colorless). The line separating metals from nonmetals cuts across several groups.  In this region of the table, the rule of group similarities loses much of its usefulness.  In Group IVA, for example, carbon (C) is a nonmetal; silicon (Si) and germanium (Ge) are semi-metals; and tin (Sn) and lead (Pb) are metals.


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