Saturday, September 03, 2016

[ahklwqzs] Periodic table for chemists

The periodic table, a tool for chemists, should only include the elements whose radioactive half-life is long enough to do chemistry.  But how long is long enough to do chemistry?  An atom might only need to exist for a very short time to participate in a chemical reaction, perhaps as a catalyst, and if it is radioactive decay product, more of it might be constantly being produced, causing for a macroscopic yield for a chemical reaction, despite any particular atom existing for a very short time.

How long after a nucleus emits, say, an alpha particle, does an atom's electronic configuration change?

The nuclear scientists have their own Table of Nuclides to keep track of the radioactive stuff, though it doesn't show off as much structure (reflecting nuclear shells) as the electron shells getting filled in the Periodic Table.

Inspired by the new elements recently named being ceremoniously placed in the periodic table.  These elements have such short lifetimes that they are useless for chemistry.

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