Try our quiz on the top 50 elements in the periodic table. Repeat the test for new questions.
Elements of the Periodic Table Quiz - Top 50
What are Elements used for?
Though we are familiar with the most common elements there are many other obscure elements that we have rarely heard of such as yttrium, hassium and dubnium. We use all kinds of elements for different purposes since they have different properties. A good example is the use of gold in electrical connections since it is resistant to corrosion. This is the same reason why we use gold as well as silver for jewellery and it is seen as having intrinsic value. Other heavy elements are used for electricity generation through the process of nuclear fission, where isotopes of uranium and plutonium are broken apart releasing large amounts of energy. Another interesting element is mercury which is a liquid at room temperatures and has been used in thermometers for centuries.
Where do Elements Heavier than Iron Come From?
Elements are typically formed through the process of nuclear fusion. Some elements however cannot be made this way since stars that begin to fuse iron nuclei do not gain any extra energy from the reaction. Usually, this outwards force of energy from nuclear fusion counteracts the force of gravity pulling the matter towards the centre of the star. Therefore the balance of energy is maintained and the star continues to exist. After iron begins to fuse, however, the star’s gravity takes over and the star rapidly collapses and then rebounds in a stellar explosion called a supernova. It is during this epic explosion that the heavier elements are formed, again through the process of nuclear fusion.
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