Four New Elements?

Discussion in 'Chemistry' started by Beer w/Straw, Jan 4, 2016.

  1. Beer w/Straw Transcendental Ignorance! Valued Senior Member

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    Last edited: Jan 4, 2016
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  3. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    I'm just a layman regarding nuclear chemistry, but I gather that all four of these elements are very radioactive and have very short half-lives, so they tend to disappear very rapidly. That suggests that they aren't found in any appreciable quantities in the natural environment.

    Synthesizing them might nevertheless be instructive, since observing their behavior and maybe something of their chemistry might reveal more general facts about theoretical chemistry.
     
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  5. Janus58 Valued Senior Member

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    Well for one thing, all those ufologists that have been claiming that ETs have been powering their craft with an anti-gravity drive made possible by the unique and amazing properties of a stable element 115 will have to find something else to hang their tin foil hat on*.

    *Who am I kidding? They will just ignore this or, even if they acknowledge the announcement, will attribute it to a conspiracy to hide the "true" nature of this magical element.
     
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  7. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I doubt it. I don't suppose the half life of these new elements will allow any chemistry to be done. Which is a pity, as they are all p-block elements close to the metal/non-metal diagonal, so they might actually have some interesting physics and chemistry if it could be be determined. But they will just be curiosities for synthetic physicists, I suspect.
     
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  8. Yazata Valued Senior Member

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    It's a conspiracy by the companies that print periodic tables to make everyone buy new copies!

    I guess that at the very least, researchers can observe their decay products. I read somewhere that some of them decay into previously unobserved isotopes of lighter elements. That might be interesting to somebody. The half-lives themselves might be interesting, since I've heard talk about the possibility of 'islands of stability' (relative stability, at least) that might exist further out among the heavier elements. These new elements might allow some testing of the assumptions that go into that conjecture.

    Scientists seem to be very good at squeezing unexpected data from very unpromising sources. (Just think of extrasolar planets.)
     
  9. origin Trump is the best argument against a democracy. Valued Senior Member

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    Oh for crying out loud, don't you know that the Pleiadians contain element 115 in a quantum stasis field generated by harmoic frequencies of zero point energy in a super symmetry environment and uh, stuff like that!
     
  10. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    I'm sure you are right about the contributions such elements can make to understanding the quantum theory of atomic nuclei - islands of stability etc. But that is physics, not chemistry. Chemistry is basically about what the electrons in atoms do, as it is these that cause atoms to combine to form chemical compounds.

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  11. James R Just this guy, you know? Staff Member

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    No element with an atomic number greater than 92 (uranium) is found in appreciable quantities in the natural environment. They are all radioactive.

    It may, however, be possible to create relatively stable elements with higher atomic numbers than the currently-recognised elements. This remains to be seen.
     
  12. deepslate Registered Member

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    Yes, I have heard about the new elements to be added in the periodic table. These have 113, 115, 117, and 118 protons respectively. I hope, I'm correct with it.
     
  13. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Yes, that was in the link Beer w Straw provided in the OP.

    All are in the p-block. 113 is in the same group as B and Al (old Gp III B,) 115 with N and P (old Gp V B), 117 is a Halogen and 118 should be a Noble Gas. However the metal/non-metal diagonal runs above 113 and 115, so they ought to be metals, and 117 and 118 are more or less on it. A halogen metal or semi-metal would an interesting thing and a metallic noble gas even more so! Sadly, I do not suppose we will ever get enough atoms, for long enough, to find out how what properties these elements actually have..........
     
  14. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Which is why they do not exist in nature.
    Even though they are theoretically possible as an atomic structure, perhaps they cannot fulfill a necessary function and never gain existence as part of the stuff of the universe?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
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  15. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You mean persist.

    There is no reason to believe that trans-uranium elements are not created right along side lighter elements in supernovae. The fact that they fission rapidly says more about our myopic human time frame. Nanoseconds is a lifetime at the atomic level.

    http://www.scientificamerican.com/article/do-transuranic-elements-s/
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  16. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I'll accept *persist*. The result is the same.
     
  17. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    Only to us humans.

    The article I linked to talks about the discovery of naturally occurring plutonium here on Earth that may have been around since its formation.
     
  18. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    I disagree with that statement. What about the duration of quantum foam @ Planck Time?
     
  19. exchemist Valued Senior Member

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    Actually no it isn't. The reason they don't exist is nature is due to the inherent instability of their nuclei, nothing to do with their physical or chemical properties. The stability of nuclei is quite well-modelled by nuclear physics: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nuclear_shell_model

    As for elements not existing because they don't fulfil a necessary function, that strikes me as metaphysical teleology, with no place in a science discussion.
     
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  20. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    What about it?

    4.5 billion years for Plutonium is certainly not equivalent to non-existence.
     
  21. Write4U Valued Senior Member

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    Of course they don't exist or exist for very short durations, because they can't maintain stability, which makes them useless for all practical purposes. If these theoretically possible particles had a place to exist as stable particles, they would, but they don't. They form during some (probably) cataclysmic event, only to disintegrate back to simpler elements or to individual components moments after formation.
    But we are not talking about Plutonium are we? Plutonium is in the table of elements and we know quite a bit about that element. We are talking about elements which we cannot observe in nature, but we can create them for *fleeting moments* in a lab. And then they are gone again.
    Their inherent combination of potentials do not allow for continued existence. Perhaps they fill a function, but IMO, they are a chaotic by-product of some other event. They simply cannot form a cohesive whole in the Higgs Field.

    Question: can we say for certain that all *possible* elements actually need to exist in context of the universal structures and functions?
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2016
  22. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    You're missing the point. It's a continuum, from 93 up past 118.

    The whole reason I mentioned Plutonium is that it is a trans-uranium element that decays after a certain duration. Whether 93 or 103 118, there is no difference except that of scale. There's no qualitative difference between
    Curium's half-life of 8500 years (a blink of the eye on geological scale),
    Lawrencium's half-life of 2.6 minutes (a blink of an eye on a human scale),
    Hassium's half-life of 2 milliseconds (a blink of an eye on a fruit fly's scale) and
    Ununpentium's half-life of 200 milliseconds.

    Yes, that's right. Elements 115's half life is 100 times longer than Element 108. And it's an eternity in the atomic world.

    Where do you draw the line at "fleeting"?
     
  23. DaveC426913 Valued Senior Member

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    It's kinda like saying

    humans cannot be observed in nature except on a single planet and, in the 13.7 billions years of the universe, they are only observable for a "fleeting" few million years or so. So it's as if they don't exist at all.
     

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