What is a Periodic Table?

What is a Periodic Table?
A periodic table is a tabular display of the chemical elements, organized on the basis of their atomic numbers, electron configurations, and recurring chemical properties. Elements are presented in increasing atomic number. The main body of the standard form of table is an 18 × 7 grid, and elements with the same number of valence electrons are kept together in groups, such as the halogens and the noble gases. There are four distinct rectangular areas or blocks. The f-block is usually not included in the main table, but rather is floated below, as an inline f-block would often make the table impractically wide. Using periodic trends, the periodic table can help predict the properties of various elements and the relations between properties. As a result it provides a useful framework for analyzing chemical behavior, and is widely used in chemistry and other sciences.

Although precursors exist, the current table is generally credited to Dmitri Mendeleev, who developed it in 1869 to illustrate periodic trends in the properties of the then-known elements; the layout has been refined and extended as new elements have been discovered and new theoretical models developed to explain chemical behavior. Mendeleev's presentation also predicted some properties of then-unknown elements expected to fill gaps in his arrangement; most of these predictions were proved correct when those elements were discovered and found to have properties close to his predictions.

All elements from atomic numbers 1 (hydrogen) to 118 (ununoctium) have been discovered or synthesized. Of these, all up to and including californium exist naturally; the rest have only been artificially synthesised in laboratories. Production of elements beyond ununoctium is being pursued, with the question of how the periodic table may need to be modified to an extended form to accommodate these elements being a matter of ongoing debate. Numerous synthetic radionuclides of naturally occurring elements have also been produced in laboratories.

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