The periodic table is a useful tool in chemistry. You should have read the articles about chemical elements and all the articles about electrons before you proceed with this article, as many important concepts are explained there.
In our other articles, we have mentioned the periodic table, which is a table over all the chemical elements that we know about. The interesting thing about it is that it's not just a simple list, but much more carefully planned. We will now take a look at how a typical periodic table looks like. We recommend that you have a periodic table in front of you while reading this article, such as this one.
In a periodic table, every element has been assigned a box in the table. For carbon, it could look like this:
The information contained within the boxes varies between different periodic tables. Sometimes information about how many electrons each shell contains is added. Internet-based periodic tables usually contain more information than paper-based periodic tables.
The elements are often divided into groups of metals, nonmetals, and metalloids, and color coded accordingly. The choice of color is left to the illustrator of the periodic table in question.
Metals are substances with special properties such as good electrical conductivity, and a blank surface. Nonmetals lack the properties of metals, and instead have the ability to exist as gases, or creating covalent bonds to create bigger molecules. Metalloid is a vaguely defined term of elements which are not really metals nor nonmetals. The metalloids often have metallic properties at certain temperature or pressure. In the image below, the blue boxes indicate metals, the yellow indicates metalloids, and the green indicates nonmetals.
Groups and periods
The periodic table is divided into groups (vertical columns) and periods (horozontal rows). There are some properties which are shared within the same period or group. Read more about this in our articles.