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Thread: Periodic table

  1. #1
    The Amish web page is fast! alexb123's Avatar
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    Periodic table

    As we explore space can we expect to add much to the Periodic table? Can we predict what we might find? What uses might these new elements have?

    Also why is there no Chemistry Board, or even a mention of it in the categoryís?

  2. #2
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexb123
    As we explore space can we expect to add much to the Periodic table? Can we predict what we might find? What uses might these new elements have?

    Also why is there no Chemistry Board, or even a mention of it in the categoryís?
    It's highly unlikely, Alex, for two very good reasons. The first is that all the heavier elements added in the past many years have all been highly unstable. (And there are no "missing" ones.) The other is that that we already have the ability via spectral analysis to see what's out there. Nothing new has ever shown up and it would if it were there.

  3. #3
    Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Billy T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Light
    ...Nothing new has ever shown up {in space}...
    Not strictly true - that is why we call it Helium.
    Last edited by Billy T; 11-29-05 at 06:26 PM.

  4. #4
    The Amish web page is fast! alexb123's Avatar
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    Light Thanks for the reply. However I donít know much about the subject so I have a few questions, if thatís OK?

    "No missing Elements"? How do we know this?

    Also how does Spectral Analysis give us the ability to "see what's out there"? The Universe is such a big place!

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy T
    Not strictly true - that is why we call it Helium.
    I don't quite follow your statement. I'm aware that Lockyear and Janssen discovered it in solar spectra, but that was about 100 years ago and at that time it's gap (and others) was present in the table.

    My primary point being that it was so long ago that it could hardly be considered a "new" element today and there aren't any gaps left in the tble now.

  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by alexb123
    Light Thanks for the reply. However I donít know much about the subject so I have a few questions, if thatís OK?

    "No missing Elements"? How do we know this?

    Also how does Spectral Analysis give us the ability to "see what's out there"? The Universe is such a big place!
    You are very welcome, Alex, and I'll be happy to try and answer your questions.

    As to "no missing elements" look at the Periodic Table closely. It's arranged to tell us several things, such as grouping elements together into families by their properties.

    But it's the very basic part we want to look at for the moment. The atomic number. Those numbers aren't just arbitrary and they aren't arbitrarily assigned, either. They are a series starting with 1 (hydrogen) and increase in precise steps of one. The number equals the exact number of protons in the element. Hydrogen contains one proton and copper, atomic number 29, contains exactly 29 protons.

    When any series is complete, like the number series 1,2,3,4,5...10, the series is full - there is no space left for additional numbers. And it's the same with the series of elements - there aren't any gaps left to fill in, so the series is complete. Keep in mind, though, that's it's still possible to add on at the end BUT, as I said earlier, all of the heavier elements that have been artificially created in the lab are very, very unstable and break down rather quickly. This is a good indication that if anything beyond the table IS formed anywhere in the universe, it won't last long enough to be detected. Even if we managed to be there in person when it formed.

    Spectral analysis is a VERY useful tool. If you've ever watched a show on TV that involved the discovery that someone had been poisoned or given some drug that killed them, it was through spectral analysis that the discovery was made.

    One property of the elements is that each has it's own set of unique spectral absorption or emission bands. Just like a fingerprint. When you heat an unknown substance in the lab, you can identify precisely what elements are present in it by those "fingerprints." And it works the same exact way on light coming to us from the sun or extremely distant stars. By analyzing the light coming from any star, we can tell exactly what elements are present in that star. And we see the exact same elements in all of them that we see in our sun and that are present here on Earth. No new ones have been found in over 100 years.

    So, taking all that information together (atomic instability and spectral analysis), it's highly unlikely we will ever find anything new.

    As a complete side note, I'm betting you've heard of the "red shift", right? That's how we determine that other stars and galaxies are moving away from us and at what speed. It uses those same spectral bands that we just talked about and involves the Doppler effect. What we see is that for any one given star, the spectral bands of all the elelments present are shifted downward in frequency by exactly the same amount. It's really pretty interesting when you think about all the different things we can tell without even having to go there.

  7. #7
    Please use Sugar Cane Alcohol Billy T's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Light
    I don't quite follow your statement....
    Re read your text in my quote of it. I have now made the your word "ever" bold and that that word makes it "not strictly true" which is all I said. Your point is correct, just your wording is slightly in error.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Billy T
    Re read your text in my quote of it. I have now made the your word "ever" bold and that that word makes it "not strictly true" which is all I said. Your point is correct, just your wording is slightly in error.
    Ahhhh, yes, I see - thanks. I failed to include a time-line qualifier.

  9. #9
    The Amish web page is fast! alexb123's Avatar
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    Light Thanks for taking the time to type all that up. Its sad there will be no more elements but as you say, it appears we have them all

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