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On the occurrence of metallic character in the periodic table of the chemical elements

Hensel, F., Slocombe, Daniel Rhys ORCID: and Edwards, P. P. 2015. On the occurrence of metallic character in the periodic table of the chemical elements. Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society A: Mathematical, Physical and Engineering Sciences 373 (2037) , 20140477. 10.1098/rsta.2014.0477

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The classification of a chemical element as either ‘metal’ or ‘non-metal’ continues to form the basis of an instantly recognizable, universal representation of the periodic table (Mendeleeff D. 1905 The principles of chemistry, vol. II, p. 23; Poliakoff M. & Tang S. 2015 Phil. Trans. R. Soc. A 373, 20140211). Here, we review major, pre-quantum-mechanical innovations (Goldhammer DA. 1913 Dispersion und Absorption des Lichtes; Herzfeld KF. 1927 Phys. Rev. 29, 701–705) that allow an understanding of the metallic or non-metallic status of the chemical elements under both ambient and extreme conditions. A special emphasis will be placed on recent experimental advances that investigate how the electronic properties of chemical elements vary with temperature and density, and how this invariably relates to a changing status of the chemical elements. Thus, the prototypical non-metals, hydrogen and helium, becomes metallic at high densities; and the acknowledged metals, mercury, rubidium and caesium, transform into their non-metallic forms at low elemental densities. This reflects the fundamental fact that, at temperatures above the absolute zero of temperature, there is therefore no clear dividing line between metals and non-metals. Our conventional demarcation of chemical elements as metals or non-metals within the periodic table is of course governed by our experience of the nature of the elements under ambient conditions. Examination of these other situations helps us to examine the exact divisions of the chemical elements into metals and non-metals (Mendeleeff D. 1905 The principles of chemistry, vol. II, p. 23).

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Engineering
Subjects: Q Science > QD Chemistry
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Uncontrolled Keywords: metals, metal to non-metal transition, periodic table of chemical elements
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 1364-503X
Last Modified: 01 Nov 2022 11:09

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