The Elements Table

The Interactive Periodic Table of Elements

Families of the Periodic Table of Elements

Each of the elements in the Periodic Table can be divided into one of nine groups. These groups share many similar properties; both chemical and physical. If you would like to see lists of elements grouped by their families, hop on over to the Elements page. The families are as follows...

Noble Gases
Noble Gases make up the most stable elements on the Periodic Table. All elements in this group have 8 electrons in their outer shell, making it hard for any of them to form compounds with other elements they come in contact with. These colorless, odorless gases at room temperature are all found in the Earth's atmosphere, if only in small amounts. These non-metals are found on Group 19 of the Periodic Table.
Halogens are highly reactive. Because they lack only 1 electron in their outer shell to be complete, they will readily form compounds with other elements. Most of the time, these elements will form salts with metals. They are very poor conductors of heat and electricity and are non-metals. They can be found on Group 17 of the Periodic Table.
Other Non-Metals
These Non-Metals are found on Groups 14-16 on the Periodic Table. They differ greatly from Metals in that they have no metallics luster, do not reflect light, they conduct heat and electricity very poorly, and are very brittle. There are both gaseous (Nitrogen) and solid (Carbon) elements in this group.
Metalloids are a fascinating bunch. They reside on the literal boundary between Metals and Non-Metals of the Periodic Table, in a "step" pattern on Groups 13-16. Metalloids have characteristics of both Metals and Non-Metals. Some Metalloids are semi-conductors (Silicon).
Alkali Metals
The most reactive of all the Metals. Their high reactivity means it is impossible to find them in nature in their pure form, as they will readily form compounds with the air and water around them. In terms of physical appearance, they are silvery and have a low enough density that they are able to be cut with a knife. They make good conductors of heat and electricity, and are found on Group 1 of the Periodic Table.
Alkaline Earth Metals
Alkaline Earth Metals are only slightly less reactive than their Alkali Metal neighbors, having one more electron in their outer shell. They are also silver-colored but are slightly more dense than Alkali Metals. They are found on Group 2 of the Periodic Table.
Rare Earth - Lanthanides
One half the of group that make up Rare Earth Metals. These elements, along with Actinides, were separated and place on the bottom of the Periodic Table so that the table would make more sense visually; the table is still accurate if you place these elements back in where they belong. Lanthanides are shiny and reactive, and can be found on Group 3 of the Periodic Table.
Rare Earth - Actinide
Also found on Group 3 of the Periodic Table, Actinides make up the other half of the Rare Earth Metals. All elements in this series are synthetic, which means they were made by humans and not nature. Actinides are also all radioactive and thus highly unstable.
Transition Metals
The largest group of elements on the Periodic Table, ranging from Groups 3-12. They have varying degrees of reactivity and a very wide range of properties. In general, however, Transition Metals are good conductors of heat and electricity and have higher boiling points and densities than their other Metal cousins.
Post-Transition Metals
The last of the Metals, found on Groups 13-16 of the Periodic Table. While Transition Metals have valence electrons in multiple shells, Post-Transition Metals only have them in the outer shell. Elements in this group are usually solid, with a very high density, making them opaque.