Representative Elements


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The representative elements are located in groups 1A - 8A.

Hydrogen - H, has one valence electron, placed above 1A and can also be placed above 7A depending if hydrogen gains or loses one valence electron. It was discovered by Henry Cavendish in 1766 and he called it "flammable air". In 1783 Antoine Lavoisier named it hydrogen for the water that forms when hydrogen and oxygen combine. Hydrogen is used to produce ammonia and is in rocket fuel.

Group 1A - called the Alkali Metals - contains the elements Li, Na, K, Rb, Cs, and Fr. These metals lose their one valence electron to form an ion with a +1 charge. They are soft enough to cut with a knife, and are very reactive with air and water. Are good conductors of heat and electricity. Lithium (Li) is the least reactive and is used in batteries, dehumidifiers, and in drugs for bipolar diseases. Na and K are the most abundant of the alkali metals. Sodium is used in food, vapor lamps, and in heat exchangers in nuclear reactors. Both Na and K are required in our diets for control of our biological functions.

Group 2A - called the Alkaline Earth Metals - contains the elements Be, Mg, Ca, Sr, Ba, and Ra. Medieval alchemists classified these as "earths" because they did not meltin their fires. Are shiny solids that are harder than the alkali metals. Lose their two valence electrons to form ions with a +2 charge. Be can be found in Beryl, which is in emeralds. Ca is essential to maintain healthy bones and teeth. Mg is in backpack frames, wheels, and is needed by plants to make chlorophyll. St Strontium gives fireworks their crimson color.

Group 3A - called the Boron Group - contains B, Al, Ga, In, and Tl. These elements are always found combined with other elements in nature. They lose their three valence electrons to form an ion with a +3 charge. B is used to make lab glassware, used in cleaners and in boric acid . Al used in airplanes, soda cans, found in rubies, and is used in antiperspirants. Ga used in some thermometers and can melt in your hand.

Group 4A - called the Carbon Group - contains C, Si, Ge, Sn, and Pb. C is found in your body, coal, diamonds, and in graphite. Si is found in computer chips and Pb used in car storage batteries.

Group 5A - called the Nitrogen Group - contains N, P, As, Sb, and Bi. These nonmetals tend to gain three valence electrons to form an ion with a -3 charge. N is 78% of Earth's atmosphere and when combined with H can produce ammonia, which is used in cleaners and fertilizers. P used to make phosphate compounds that are found in cheeses, fabric coating, and detergents. As is toxic and used to be used in medial treatments.

Group 6A - called the Oxygen Group - contains O, S, Se, Te, and Po. Gain two valence electrons to form a ion with a -2 charge. O essential for life, makes up 21% atmosphere, and most abundant in Earth's crust. S is often ground into a yellow powder with a distinct odor, which is used as a antibacterial agent.

Group 7A - called the Halogens - contains F, Cl, Be, I, and At. Gain one valence electron to form an ion with a -1 charge. Form salts when combine with metals, with NaCl being the most common. Always found combined with other things because they are so reactive. F is added to toothpaste and drinking water to protect teeth. Cl is used as cleaner, bleaching agent, and is used in the production of plastics.

Group 8A - called the Nobel Gases - contains He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe, and Rn. These elements are called the noble gas elements because they do not react with other elements and are extremely stable. He used in blimps, balloons, and in air mixtures for divers. Ne used in lights, Ar and Kr are used to prolong the life of filaments in incandescent light bulbs.