Mastered The 114 Elements Of The Periodic Table? Here Are Four More!

By

CCSS NAS-2 468 Words 4-Minute Listen
Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org

On December 30, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry announced that elements 113, 115, 117 and 118 are now approved to join the prestigious periodic table. Their addition completes the group of man-made elements that make up the table's 7th row, and brings the total number that will need to be memorized by students to 118!

For those of you that do not know or cannot recall, the periodic table is a tabular list of chemical elements organized by the number of protons that each has in its atomic nucleus. For example, hydrogen is element number 1 because it has one proton, helium is number 2 because it has two and so on and so forth

The first table that was created in 1869 by Russian chemist Dmitri Mendeleev listed 59 naturally occurring elements, with room for 33 more. However, even after the last natural element uranium that has an astounding 92 protons had been found, scientists were not happy.

Based on the characteristics of the different elements they knew there were others just waiting to be discovered. Researchers hypothesized that the reason we are unable to find naturally occurring examples is because the elements are extremely heavy and, therefore, decay quickly.

Image Credit: Flickr (Creative commons)

Hence began the race to synthesize elements in the laboratory. This, of course, is no easy task. To create the chemical structures researchers have to slam an existing element with the ions of another in hopes that they will fuse to form a new element. The chances of this happening are of course slim to none.

Even those that are successful are highly volatile. This means a newly created element could disappear in the blink of an eye. Of the most recent ones, 113 has the longest half-life of 19.6 seconds, while 118, which was created by slamming californium with calcium ions has the shortest, a mere 0.89 milliseconds.

Photo Credit: Compoundchem.com (creative commons)

While that is difficult enough, being approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry is even more so. That's because to be considered for the periodic table the new element has to be reproduced by another scientist working in a non-affiliated laboratory. In many cases, this can take years! Element 113, for example, was first synthesized in 2003, while the newest - 117, was created five years ago.

So why do scientists go through years of research to create elements that have little practical use? Believe it or not, it is not to make your life harder, but mainly to challenge themselves. There is also an ongoing race between scientists, to see who can create the most new elements. Given that three of the four recently added ones were first manufactured in the United States do not be surprised if another team tries to up the ante with an eighth row!

Resources: qz.com, fastcompany.com,gizmag.com,riken.jp.com

Cite Article
249 Comments
  • stockriderj
    stockriderjSunday, March 7, 2021 at 5:21 pm
    Oh wow we got new elements
    • pinklilcow
      pinklilcowSunday, March 7, 2021 at 7:22 am
      I have to tell my friend ethan he loves this.stuff!
      • stormwar10r
        stormwar10rSunday, December 1, 2019 at 1:40 pm
        this is amazing for primary school
        • am-olm1
          am-olm1Tuesday, October 8, 2019 at 2:18 pm
          To bad this is four years ago. I already know these elements. At least I still learnt some more things about these elements!
          • _Underscore_Sunday, September 8, 2019 at 6:36 pm
            this is why i get straight A+ in science class
            • cheese_awesome
              cheese_awesomeFriday, April 12, 2019 at 4:51 pm
              Love the song
              • cheese_awesome
                cheese_awesomeFriday, April 12, 2019 at 4:41 pm
                Cool
                • xtr3m3shad0w
                  xtr3m3shad0wFriday, November 30, 2018 at 11:13 am
                  Woooooo it helps me like Science class just a biiiit more
                  • noobular
                    noobularWednesday, November 28, 2018 at 5:43 am
                    But nice history of the periodic table tho
                    • noobular
                      noobularWednesday, November 28, 2018 at 5:42 am
                      Ugh, more elements = more pain in science class.