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The Periodic Table

 

So the periodic table is a collection of the elements.  The elements are the building blocks of everything around us.  The elements are all listed in the periodic table, basically by getting heavier, so you add a proton and a little sub atomic particle, you add it into the atom to make it a little bit bigger each time.  So as we go along, they get bigger.  And each one has a different property, they all have characters and we group them not only by how heavy they are, but also their properties.

So right at the far end there’s a group of gases and they’re used in things like neon signs.  And if we go all the way over to the other side, there’s very reactive metals and if you put water on them, they’ll burst into flames.

So as we go through the periodic table, we can work out which elements we might want to use for certain things.  That’s how we know…like in our phones, we use gold from the periodic table, because from where it is, it’s going to be a good conductor.  And then we can go and we can use some of the gases for filling balloons but also for neon signs. And we can know how to make things better and how to change things by looking at the trends in this big table.

For looking at the gases, neon is a kind of reddish/orange colour, so if you wanted a neon sign that was blue, you could go down one block on the periodic table to argon, very similar properties, but when you put electricity through it, it goes blue, so similar to neon, but they all have slightly different characteristics and just by exploring the periodic table, you can work out what they’re like.  The characters of the elements.