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Your Questions About How To Discover New Elements

Chris asks…

How to solve this chemistry problem?

If 4.61×10^21 atoms of element Z have a mass of 0.815 , what is the identity of Z?

How do I set this up to discover the element? I am assuming I am trying to find the atomic mass to figure the identity of the element.

New Niche Finder answers:

To identify Z you need to solve for the molar mass (g/mol) of it. In other words, you need to find the mass and moles of Z.

You have your mass already (I assume it is in grams), so you just need to find the moles of the atoms. To do this you use Avogadro’s number (6.022*10^23) to get moles.

Because 1 mole = 6.022*10^23,

(4.61 * 10^21 atoms Z) (1 mole Z / 6.022 * 10^23 atoms Z) = 0.00765 mole Z.

Plug those into the g/mol equation:

0.815g/0.00765 = 106.465 g

From looking at the periodic table, Palladium (Pd) will most likely be Z

George asks…

How did scientists discover and compare elements when these elements are smaller than the microscope magnifies?

How did they compare carbon dioxide from pure oxygen and helium from hydrogen when in fact the air that we breathe is mixed with different forms of elements and compounds? Very enigmatic.

New Niche Finder answers:

It’s actually a very old idea, that all things are composed of elementary “building blocks” which could not be further divided chemically. The ancient Greeks believed there were four elements, earth, water, fire, and air.

As far as we know, the Greeks were actually right about the existence of elemental building blocks, at least for the ordinary matter that we observe here on Earth. The work of chemists who discovered the modern elements simply expanded on the ancient Greek theory, by dividing and isolating materials chemically until they could be divided and isolated no more.

In the 17th century, the first modern challenges to the four elements system began. It was already known that air was required to make fire and to support life, but the experiments of John Mayow showed that only a portion of the air was consumed by fire, and the same portion of the air was breathed by animals for respiration. This proved that air was not an element, but a mixture. Mayow called the breathable part of the air “nitroaereus.” Likewise, Robert Boyle found that the reaction between iron and acid produced a special kind of air which was highly flammable. Boyle called this air “phlogiston.”

Further work by chemists isolated nitroaereus, by finding ways to produce it in pure form from minerals. In 1777, Lavoisier determined the chemical basis for combustion, showing that fire was a reaction and not an element in its own right. He gave nitroaereus its modern name: oxygen. He also found that phlogiston produced water when burned; this led to phlogiston’s modern name: hydrogen. Based on Lavoisier’s discoveries, it became clear that the “element” of water was really a compound of two elements, hydrogen and oxygen.

After the modern elements were discovered, isolated, and characterized, compounds could then be identified by reacting elements together, and carefully weighing them before and after the reactions. For example, in the 17th century, a dense, non-flammable, non-breathable gas had been isolated by treating limestone with acid, and chemists called this gas “fixed air.” In 1783, Pierre Laplace showed that animals breathe in oxygen, combine it with carbon in their bodies, and breathe out fixed air; this showed that fixed air was in fact a compound of carbon and oxygen. In 1802, John Dalton used atomic weights to show that fixed air contains one part carbon and two parts oxygen; this led to its modern name, carbon dioxide.

Some elements, particularly rare and non-reactive elements, were discovered much later. In 1868, astronomers Jules Janssen and Norman Lockyer found a yellow line in the sun’s spectrum that wasn’t accounted for by any of the known elements. This suggested that much of the sun was composed of a new, undiscovered element. Because this new element was rare on Earth and non-reactive, it wasn’t discovered on Earth until years later. This new element was named after the Greek sun god Helios; today we know it as helium. Due to its non-reactivity, chemists recognize it the same way it was discovered, by its distinctive yellow spectral line.

Nancy asks…

Why have we stopped research into discovering new elements of The Periodic Table?

I have been passively watching The Periodic Table since it has come to my attention in the early 70’s, very few new elements have been discovered (made) and added. I know that many of the new elements are radioactive and unstable. However, I have read theories that heavier elements can provide limitless energy without the radioactivity. Should research in this area continue to verify the same?

Instead of exploring The Periodic Table, research has gone in the other direction looking for the smallest of particles. Research shouldn’t be myopic with all the world’s resources going towards one direction. Research should be well rounded. Studies to contribute to new elements filling out The Periodic Table should move forward.

Your comments please.

New Niche Finder answers:

We have not stopped. But the problem is as the atomic mass increases, the stability of the nucleus decreases. Hence the elements after uranium wont exist in the nature. And it becomes diffucult to synthesize new elements with very high mass in the nucleus.

Mary asks…

How do I know my Elemental Nature?

Fire, Earth, Air or Water? Discover which elements make up the most of your personality, and which may be missing.

New Niche Finder answers:

Give this a try!


Mandy asks…

I want to know how to determine the atomic structure of an unknown element using the mass spectrometre?

This question is from a past paper where a chemist has discovered a knew element.The question is How would you identify its different isotopes and determine its relative atomic structure?So I said I would use the instrument the Mass Spectrometre .I am able to determine what to do to identify the different iotopes with the instrument but I can not dtermine the aomic structure.Then the second part of the question is’How would you attempt to determine its atomic number of the element that chemist discovered.

New Niche Finder answers:

I think it is extremely bad manners of you to post the same or similar question three times at intervals of five minutes.

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