History of The Periodic Table - Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev

Dmitri Mendeleev, a Russian chemist, was the first scientist to make a periodic table much like the one we use today. Mendeleev arranged the elements in a table ordered by atomic mass, corresponding to relative molar mass as defined today. It is sometimes said that he played "chemical solitaire" on long train journeys using cards with various facts of known elements. On March 6, 1869, a formal presentation was made to the Russian Chemical Society, entitled The Dependence Between the Properties of the Atomic Weights of the Elements. His table was published in an obscure Russian journal but quickly republished in a German journal, Zeitschrift für Chemie (Eng., "Chemistry Magazine"), in 1869. It stated:

  1. The elements, if arranged according to their atomic mass, exhibit an apparent periodicity of properties.
  2. Elements which are similar as regards to their chemical properties have atomic weights which are either of nearly the same value (e.g., Pt, Ir, Os) or which increase regularly (e.g., K, Rb, Cs).
  3. The arrangement of the elements, or of groups of elements in the order of their atomic masses, corresponds to their so-called valencies, as well as, to some extent, to their distinctive chemical properties; as is apparent among other series in that of Li, Be, Ba, C, N, O, and Sn (should be Li, Be, B, C, N, O, and F).
  4. The elements which are the most widely diffused have small atomic weights.
  5. The magnitude of the atomic weight determines the character of the element, just as the magnitude of the molecule determines the character of a compound body.
  6. We must expect the discovery of many yet unknown elements–for example, elements analogous to aluminium and silicon–whose atomic weight would be between 65 and 75.
  7. The atomic weight of an element may sometimes be amended by a knowledge of those of its contiguous elements. Thus the atomic weight of tellurium must lie between 123 and 126, and cannot be 128. (This was based on the position of tellurium between antimony and iodine whose atomic weight is 127. However Moseley later explained the position of these elements without revising the atomic weight values — see below.)
  8. Certain characteristic properties of elements can be foretold from their atomic masses.

Scientific benefits of Mendeleev's table

  • Mendeleev predicted the discovery of other elements and left space for these new elements, namely eka-silicon (germanium), eka-aluminium (gallium), and eka-boron (scandium). Thus, there was no disturbance in the periodic table.
  • He pointed out that some of the atomic weights being used at the time were incorrect.
  • He provided for variance from atomic weight order.

Shortcomings of Mendeleev's table

  • His table did not include any of the noble gases, which were discovered later. These were added by Sir William Ramsay as Group 0, without any disturbance to the basic concept of the periodic table.
  • A single position could not be assigned to hydrogen in the periodic table. Hydrogen could be placed in the alkali metals group as well as in the halogens group.

Read more about this topic:  History Of The Periodic Table

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