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Your Questions About How To Discover New Elements

Nancy asks…

What will be the atomic number of the next alkali metal to be discovered?

How would you expect its physical properties to compare with those of the pre-discovered alkali metals?

Thank you if you can even give me a hint about this! I have no idea!

New Niche Finder answers:

There are only six known alkali metal elements: lithium (Li), sodium (Na), potassium (K), rubidium (Rb), caesium (Cs), and francium (Fr). The next element in that group would be #119, with a temporary name of ununennium (Uue). But most likely it would be radioactive, and decay to something else in just a few microseconds.

William asks…

How can a noble gas be forced to combine with another element?

I teach high school chemistry. One question I have not been able to answer is how is it possible to create a compound such as xenon hexafluoride. I know this was done by a chemist at the University of British Columbia in the 1960’s.

I also know that several other noble gases have been combined with elements to create compounds.

I would think that such compounds are inherently unstable.

Can a professional chemist please explain how this can actually be done? I am certain it requires a terrific amount of energy.

New Niche Finder answers:

Actually, all it needs is a little pressure. My recollection is that the first such were discovered by chemists at Purdue in the early 1960’s. They did a lot of pioneering work with fluorine, but they often used rare gases as diluents. Because diluted fluorine is still dangerous, they used a piping system behind concrete walls and followed reactions by pressure changes. While using xenon as a diluent, they observed unexplained pressure drops. They opened the system and collected some white crystals from the pipes, which analyzed as XeF6. Water converted it to XeO3. And that was the beginning of rare gas chemistry.

Betty asks…

How are samples taken for radio metric dating NOT contaminated?

I was reading about radio metric dating, i understand the sequence of decay

I understand that U-235 decays eventually to Pb-207, so I understand that samples are taken and dated according to the sequence and time scale of half lives.

The question i am asking though is this …. how is it possible to take a sample, discover elements, and then say that those are the daughter products of decayed elements?

Do the samples have to be contained in some sort of isolation?

Its hard to word this, so i hope it made sense to someone

Thank you

New Niche Finder answers:

Fort the kind of dating you are talking about, the sample that will be tested is of rock form the interior of a larger piece of rock, so there is no possibility of surface contamination appearing in the part of the sample actually being tested. There also are enormous lengths taken to be sure that the machine being used for the analysis, a mass spectrometer, does not become contaminated, that all the air moving into the lab and then into the machine is super-filtered. Standard reference materials and blanks are used to be sure that the machine is returning the expected range of answers for different materials that have been tested hundreds or thousands of times. And the analysis is done multiple times, by multiple analysts so that sample-to-sample and analyst-to-analyst variability is part of the data base. Finally, the quoted age is always reported with a +/- value to reflect the full range of uncertainties arising form the analysis and all its assumptions.

The decay chains themselves are established on the basis of fundamental calculations from thermodynamics and quantum mechanics (with relativistic support as necessary), and are backed by – today – hundreds of thousands of empirical measurements showing that the predicted relationships are matched by real-world measurements, again within the limits of analytical precision.


Sandra asks…

What is the 24th element on the periodic table?

Chromium. It is chromium.

Chromium is a chemical element which has the symbol Cr and atomic number 24. It is the first element in Group 6. It is a steely-gray, lustrous, hard and brittle metal which takes a high polish, resists tarnishing, and has a high melting point. It is also odorless and tasteless. The name of the element is derived from the Greek word “chrōma” (χρώμα), meaning colour, because many of its compounds are intensely coloured.

Chromium oxide was used by the Chinese in the Qin dynasty over 2,000 years ago to coat metal weapons found with the Terracotta Army. Chromium was discovered as an element after it came to the attention of the western world in the red crystalline mineral crocoite (lead(II) chromate), discovered in 1761 and initially used as a pigment. Louis Nicolas Vauquelin first isolated chromium metal from this mineral in 1797. Since Vauquelin’s first production of metallic chromium, small amounts of native (free) chromium metal have been discovered in rare minerals, but these are not used commercially. Instead, nearly all chromium is commercially extracted from the single commercially viable ore chromite, which is iron chromium oxide (FeCr2O4). Chromite is also now the chief source of chromium for chromium pigments.

New Niche Finder answers:

What is your question- you ask : what is the 24th element on the periodic table . Then you follow this with a long description copied I guess from Wikipedia or similar .
What answer do you want or expect to get.

Mandy asks…

Why did the battery help scientists discover many elements?

Does anyone know which one of these are most accurate?

A. The battery produced energy that could break molecules into elements.
B. The battery powered lights allowing scientists to work longer hours.
C. The battery produced electricity that made new elements.
D. The battery powered strong microscopes to see elements.

New Niche Finder answers:

I’d guess A.

You could have light without batteries.
You can’t “make” elements like that.
Microscopes use optics rather than electricity and I doubt electron microscopes are powered by batteries.

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