The development of the periodic table in the mid-1800s came from observations that there was a periodic relationship between the properties of the elements. Chemists, who have an understanding of the variations of these properties, have been able to use this knowledge to solve a wide variety of technical challenges. For example, silicon and other semiconductors form the backbone of modern electronics because of our ability to fine-tune the electrical properties of these materials. This chapter explores important properties of representative metals, metalloids, and nonmetals in the periodic table.
- 18.1: Periodicity
- This section focuses on the periodicity of the representative elements, where the electrons are entering the s and p orbitals. The representative elements occur in groups 1, 2, and 12–18. These elements are representative metals, metalloids, and nonmetals. The alkali metals (group 1) are very reactive, readily form ions with a charge of 1+ to form ionic compounds that are usually soluble in water, and react vigorously with water to form hydrogen gas and a basic solution of the metal hydroxide.
- 18.2: Occurrence and Preparation of the Representative Metals
- Because of their chemical reactivity, it is necessary to produce the representative metals in their pure forms by reduction from naturally occurring compounds. Electrolysis is important in the production of sodium, potassium, and aluminum. Chemical reduction is the primary method for the isolation of magnesium, zinc, and tin. Similar procedures are important for the other representative metals.
- 18.3: Structure and General Properties of the Metalloids
- The elements boron, silicon, germanium, arsenic, antimony, and tellurium separate the metals from the nonmetals in the periodic table. These elements, called metalloids or sometimes semimetals, exhibit properties characteristic of both metals and nonmetals. The structures of these elements are similar in many ways to those of nonmetals, but the elements are electrical semiconductors.
- 18.4: Structure and General Properties of the Nonmetals
- Nonmetals have structures that are very different from those of the metals, primarily because they have greater electronegativity and electrons that are more tightly bound to individual atoms. Most nonmetal oxides are acid anhydrides, meaning that they react with water to form acidic solutions. Molecular structures are common for most of the nonmetals, and several have multiple allotropes with varying physical properties.
- 18.5: Occurrence, Preparation, and Compounds of Hydrogen
- Hydrogen is the most abundant element in the universe and its chemistry is truly unique. Although it has some chemical reactivity that is similar to that of the alkali metals, hydrogen has many of the same chemical properties of a nonmetal with a relatively low electronegativity. It forms ionic hydrides with active metals, covalent compounds with -1 oxidation state with less electronegative elements, and covalent compounds with +1 oxidation state with more electronegative nonmetals.
- 18.6: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Carbonates
- The usual method for the preparation of the carbonates of the alkali and alkaline earth metals is by reaction of an oxide or hydroxide with carbon dioxide. Other carbonates form by precipitation. Metal carbonates or hydrogen carbonates such as limestone (CaCO3), the antacid Tums (CaCO3), and baking soda (NaHCO3) are common examples. Carbonates and hydrogen carbonates decompose in the presence of acids and most decompose on heating.
- 18.7: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Nitrogen
- Nitrogen exhibits oxidation states ranging from 3− to 5+. Because of the stability of the N≡N triple bond, it requires a great deal of energy to make compounds from molecular nitrogen. Active metals such as the alkali metals and alkaline earth metals can reduce nitrogen to form metal nitrides. Nitrogen oxides and nitrogen hydrides are also important substances.
- 18.8: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Phosphorus
- Phosphorus (group 15) commonly exhibits oxidation states of 3− with active metals and of 3+ and 5+ with more electronegative nonmetals. The halogens and oxygen will oxidize phosphorus. The oxides are phosphorus(V) oxide, P4O10, and phosphorus(III) oxide, P4O6. The two common methods for preparing orthophosphoric acid, H3PO4, are either the reaction of a phosphate with sulfuric acid or the reaction of water with phosphorus(V) oxide. Orthophosphoric acid is triprotic that forms 3 types of salts.
- 18.9: Occurrence, Preparation, and Compounds of Oxygen
- Oxygen is one of the most reactive elements. This reactivity, coupled with its abundance, makes the chemistry of oxygen very rich and well understood. Compounds of the representative metals with oxygen exist in three categories (1) oxides, (2) peroxides and superoxides, and (3) hydroxides. Heating the corresponding hydroxides, nitrates, or carbonates is the most common method for producing oxides. Heating the metal or metal oxide in oxygen may lead to the formation of peroxides and superoxides.
- 18.10: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Sulfur
- Sulfur (group 16) reacts with almost all metals and readily forms the sulfide ion, S2−, in which it has as oxidation state of 2−. Sulfur reacts with most nonmetals.
- 18.11: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of Halogens
- The halogens form halides with less electronegative elements. Halides of the metals vary from ionic to covalent; halides of nonmetals are covalent. Interhalogens form by the combination of two or more different halogens. All of the representative metals react directly with elemental halogens or with solutions of the hydrohalic acids (HF, HCl, HBr, and HI) to produce representative metal halides.
- 18.12: Occurrence, Preparation, and Properties of the Noble Gases
- The most significant property of the noble gases (group 18) is their inactivity. They occur in low concentrations in the atmosphere. They find uses as inert atmospheres, neon signs, and as coolants. The three heaviest noble gases react with fluorine to form fluorides. The xenon fluorides are the best characterized as the starting materials for a few other noble gas compounds.
- 18.13: Representative Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals (Exercises)
- These are homework exercises to accompany the Textmap created for "Chemistry" by OpenStax. Complementary General Chemistry question banks can be found for other Textmaps and can be accessed here. In addition to these publicly available questions, access to private problems bank for use in exams and homework is available to faculty only on an individual basis; please contact Delmar Larsen for an account with access permission.
Contributors and Attributions
Paul Flowers (University of North Carolina - Pembroke), Klaus Theopold (University of Delaware) and Richard Langley (Stephen F. Austin State University) with contributing authors. Textbook content produced by OpenStax College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/85abf193-2bd...email@example.com).