ELEMENTS AND SYMBOLS
An element is a substance which cannot be split into simpler units by ordinary chemical process. There are over one hundred known elements.
Table of Contents
SYMBOLS OF ELEMENTS
There are three ways in which symbols of elements are derived.
- From the first letter of the name of the element
- The first letter written in capital letter and one other letter from its name written in small letter.
- The symbols of some elements were derived from their Latin names.
Elements Latin name Symbols
Mercury Hydragyrium Hg
Sodium Natrium Na
Iron Ferrum Fe
Copper Cuprum Cu
Silver Argentum Ag
Tin Stannum Sn
Gold Aurum Au
Potassium Kalium K
Lead Plumbum Pb
- How many elements are discovered now?
- Write the symbols for the following elements: silicon, iodine, fluorine, sulphur, silver, Iron, copper, potassium and sodium.
CLASSIFICATION OF ELEMENTS
Elements can be classified into metals and non-metals.
Examples of metals include iron, zinc, tin, aluminium, copper etc.
Examples of non-metals are: Chlorine, oxygen, sulphur, fluorine, hydrogen etc.
Some elements however possess the properties of metals as well as non-metals. They are called metalloids, examples are silicon and germanium.
THE DIFFERENCES BETWEEN METALS AND NON-METALS
Metal Non – metals
- They are solids (except mercury) They are solids, liquids and gases
- Good conductors of heat Poor conductors of heat and electricity
and electricity (except graphite which conduct electricity)
- Malleable Brittle
- Ductile Not ductile
- Shiny Not shiny
- Often very dense Usually less dense(low density)
- What are metalloids?
- State two differences between metals and non-metals.
Valency is the combining power of an element. It can also be defined as the number of hydrogen atoms that can combine with or replace one atom of that element.
Valency of an element depends on the structure of that element. At times it corresponds to the number of electrons in the outermost shells called valence electrons.
Below are the valencies of some elements:
Element Symbol Valency
Aluminium Al +3
Argon Ar Nil
Calcium Ca +2
Chlorine Cl -1
Sulphur S -2, -4 or -6
Sodium Na +1
Magnesium Mg +2
Copper Cu +1 or +2
Carbon C -2 or -4
Barium Ba +2
Silver Ag +1
Iron Fe +2 or +3
Valencies have either positive or negative values showing whether electrons are gained or lost. If an element gains electrons, its value is negative but positive when it loses electrons.
Generally, metals exhibit positive valencies while non – metal tend to have negative valencies. Some element exhibit more than one valency. Valency can also be called oxidation number or state.
A radical is a group of atoms having an electric charge either positive or negative which keeps its identity and react as a single unit. Any small group of atoms carrying a negative charge is called an acid radical. Examples of acid radicals include S042-, C032-, N03–
The valency of a radical corresponds to the charge it carries.
Radical Formula Valency
Ammonium NH4+ +1
Hydroxide 0H– -1
Trioxonitrate(V) N03– -1
Dioxonitrate(III) N02– -1
Trioxocarbonate(IV) C032- -2
Tetraoxosulphate(VI) S042- -2
Hydrogen trioxocarbonate HC03– -1
- Define (i) valency (ii) Radical
- Write the valency of: a) Oxygen (b) Potassium c) Sulphur d) S042- e) NH4+
- Classify the following into physical or chemical changes: a) Rusting of iron b) Fermentation of palm wine c) Evaporation of a salt solution d) Melting of ice
- The combining power of oxygen is (a)+2 (b)-2 (c)-1 (d)+1
- Which of the following is a metalloid? (a) sulphur (b) iron (c) silicon (d) carbon
- The symbol Au represents (a) silver (b) lead (c) copper (d) gold
- Which of the following elements is used as a standard in defining valency?
(a) oxygen (b) copper (c) carbon (d) hydrogen
- Which of the following metals is a liquid at room temperature?
- iron (b) gold (c) tin (d) mercury
- a. Define an element.
- Write the symbols of the following elements (i) Manganese (ii) Caesium (iii) Cobalt
- a. What are metalloids?
- Give two differences between metals and non-metal