Elements and the Periodic Table

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Section 1

Question Answer
atomThe basic particle from which all elements are made.
electronA negatively charged particle that is found outside the nucleus of an atom.
nucleusThe central core of the atom.
protonA positively charged particle that is part of an atom's nucleus.
energy levelThe specific amount of energy an electron has.
neutronA small particle in the nucleus of an atom, with no electronic charge.
atomic numberThe number of protons in the nucleus of an atom.
isotopeAn atom with the same number of protons and a different number of neutrons from other atoms of the same element.
mass numberThe sum of protons and neutrons in the nucleus of an atom.

Section 2

Question Answer
atomic massThe average mass of all the isotopes of an element.
periodic tableA chart of the elements.
periodA horizontal row of elements in the periodic table.
groupElements in the same vertical column of the periodic table; also called a family.
chemical symbolA one or two letter representation of an element.
plasmaA gas-like state of matter consisting of a mixture of free electrons and atoms that are stripped of their electrons.
nuclear fusionThe process in which two atomic nuclei combine to form a larger nucleus, forming a heavier element and releasing huge amounts of energy.

Section 3

Question Answer
metal A class of elements characterized by physical properties that include shininess, malleability, ductility, and conductivity.
malleableA term used to describe material that can be pounded into shapes.
ductilA term used to describe a material that can be pulled out into a long wire.
conductivityThe ability of an object to transfer heat or electricity to another object.
reactivityThe ease and speed with which an element combines, or reacts, with other elements and compounds.
corrosion The gradual wearing away of a metal element due to a chemical reaction.
alkali metalAn element in Group 1 of the periodic table.
alkaline earth metalAn element in Group 2 of the periodic table.
transition metalOne of the elements in Groups 3 through 12 of the periodic table.
particle acceleratorA machine that moves atomic nuclei at higher and higher speeds until they crash into one another, sometimes forming heavier elements.

Section 4

Question Answer
nonmetalAn element that lacks most of the properties of a metal.
diatomic moleculeA molecule consisting of two atoms.
halogenAn element found in Group 17 of the periodic table.
noble gasAn element in Group 18 of the periodic table.
metalloidAn element that has some characteristics of both metals and nonmetals.
semiconductor A material that conducts current under certain conditions.

Section 5

Question Answer
radioactive decayThe process in which the atomic nuclei of unstable isotopes release fast moving particles and energy.
radioactivityThe spontaneous emission of radiation by an unstable atomic nuclei.
alpha particleA type of nuclear radiation consisting of two protons and two neutrons.
beta particle A fast moving electron that is given off as nuclear radiation.
gamma radiationA type of nuclear radiation made of high energy rays.
tracerA radioactive isotope that can be followed through the steps of a chemical reaction or industrial process.