“I found that trying to understand the modern concepts in chemistry using a 2D Periodic Table was like trying to fly over the Rockies in a car. You need a plane. You need 3D.” ~ Fernando Dufour, Professor, Collège Ahuntsic, Montreal
The Tabular Periodic Table of elements has sustained the test of time – 150 years that is. But it has glitches at places.
Add a proton into the atomic nucleus, a new element is born. After adding 2, 8, 8, 32 protons the new element demonstrates similar generic properties. Had the periodicity been constant, a two dimensional table could be perfect. But bigger nuclei allow more protons and generate more varied atoms before getting back to the closest match again. The vertical line that represents a group similarity in 2D thus gets diverged from top conical vertex towards periphery of a wider circular base to accommodate more groups in a period.
The Birla Industrial & Technological Museum has been welcoming visitors this June, with a rotating, 3D version of the familiar Periodic Table. This 3D form, inspired from Fernando Dufour’s original version called ElemenTree, manifests in a stronger light, the quirks and perks of the hundred odd elements that make us all – and everything else around.