Chemistry & Physics

Coolest Elements on the Periodic Chart

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When you say a “cool” element of the periodic chart, it doesn’t necessarily mean the temperature of an element (although some elements here on this gallery may be literally “cool”). Rather, these elements are being described as amazing, awesome or “badass.” Why and how are these certain elements cool? Well, find them out here in this gallery!

Strontium

Strontium is a metal found chiefly in its raw sources, the celestine (or celestite) and the strontianite, both of which are in crystaline form. This metal can be derived in two ways. One, through electrolysis which consists of a fusion of chloride and potassium chloride. Another is through reduction of strontium oxide with aluminum in a vacuum under temperatures conducive to dissolving strontium.

When freshly cut, strontium has a silvery appearance. But since it is easily exposed to oxidation, strontium quickly turns yellowish. It even ignites by itself through air alone.

Volatile strontium salts feature a beautiful crimson color before going into flames. That’s why strontium is used widely for the manufacture of firecrackers and pyrotechnics, as well as in the manufacture of color TV’s monitors (or cathode ray tubes) to keep the X-rays emissions from occurring.

Zirconium

Zirconium has a lot of uses especially when corrosive agents are involved. This element is used in alloying steel, in vacuum tubes, lamp filaments, photoflash bulbs, and so much more. It is also used in poison-ivy lotions as a form of carbonate. Zirconium, of course, is also the primary component in the gemstone zircon.

Aluminum

One of the most common metals on the planet, from soda cans to roofings to kitchen utensils, and thousands more when a strong and light construction material is necessary. In its pure form, aluminum is actually soft and lacking strength, so it needs alloy from other elements such as copper, magnesium or manganese to make it strong and more useful. Its electrical conductivity pales in comparison to other elements like copper; however, due to its light weight, aluminum is used in electrical transmissions.

Arsenic

Arsenic is found naturally as it occurs in several minerals. It is used as an alloy of copper most particularly, lead for its use in car batteries. Arsenic is also used in semiconductor devices, pesticides, insecticides, herbicides and treated wood products. However, it has somewhat gained a notoriety for its misuse as a poison for many centuries, and that’s not so cool.

Bromine

Bromine is a halogen and the only nonmetallic element in its liquid form. It is a highly toxic element; it smells like bleach, irritates the mucous membranes and can even literally burn a hole in your skin. That’s why safety and care are strongly recommended when transporting bromine; it is usually carried in steel tanks lined with lead. It is used as an additive to gasoline, pesticides, fire retardant as well as in a variety of medical uses.

Carbon

Carbon (C) is abundant and is found on living organisms. It has a variety of uses, including jewelry (particularly diamonds), pencil-making, coal, cooling systems, machinery, fuel, plastics, etc.

Chlorine

Another common element, chlorine (Cl) is toxic but is otherwise useful. Dissolved chlorine is the most abundant in oceans. It is used as an antiseptic and disinfectant, as well as many other industrial uses. But don’t ever drink it!

Curium

Named after the famous physicist Marie Curie, the curium (Cm) is an element that glows in the dark due to its sheer radioactivity. Curium doesn’t occur naturally and instead is prepared by bombarding plutonium with helium ions. As it is extremely limited, curium has few uses, and it is considered dangerous. However, Mars rovers used it for their Alpha Proton X-Ray Spectrometer.

Francium

Francium is either derived naturally or synthesized by bombarding thorium with protons or by radium by neutrons. It is the most unstable of the naturally occuring elements, with its most stable isotope Fr-223 having the longest half-life of 21.8 minutes. A heavy element, francium has the weight equivalent of all elements.

Gold

Gold is cool just because it’s GOLD — glittering, shiny and precious. Apart from its most well-known use in jewelry and investment, gold is also used in electricity, chemistry, medicine as well as food and drink. It is one of the oldest-known elements perhaps since history began, so nothing beats gold’s majestic presence.

Helium

Helium is the second most abundant element. It is popular element found at parties as it’s usually used in inflating balloons. It also makes you sound funny. Heard about “liquid helium”? It’s the coolest element out there, literally as well as figuratively. As the temperature closes to absolute zero, helium condenses into a liquid form with awesome properties, which are the indeed properties of a superfluid. It becomes gravity-defying, creeping up and over the walls of a container. And you’d think that scene only happens in some fictional sci-fi movies?

Hydrogen

Aside from being the top element (at least in the periodic chart), hydrogen (H) is also cool because it forms some of the things that we have, including water. Light and fiery at the same time, as hydrogen is the lightest of gas and is also flammable. It is the most abundant element not only on Earth but also in the entire universe. It won’t be #1 for nothing.

Iridium

Iridium (Ir) is the second densest element and is totally resistant to any corrosion. It’s quite hard, brittle, and has a silvery appearance. One of the rarest elements on Earth, it is likely found in meteorites that caused the extinction of dinosaurs over 65 million years ago.

Krypton

Krypton is a colorless, odorless and tasteless noble gas, but becomes white when cooled and solidified. It is usually utilized for lasers.

Lutetium

Lutetium is a metallic element and has a silvery in appearance. It is resistant against corrosion except in moist air. Nowadays, lutetium is commercially obtained through a rare phosphate mineral monazite. The world’s annual production of lutetium is about 10 tons. Due to its rarity and high price, lutetium has no large-scale commercial uses. However, some of the element’s radioactive istopes can be utilized as catalysts in petroleum products as well as in hydrogenation and polymerizaton processes.

Magnesium

Magnesium is the ninth most abundant element although it doesn’t occur naturally in itself, but with other elements. It slightly tarnishes in air. When it is finely divided, it immediately produces a combustion and shows off a fascinating white flame. It is also the seventh most abundant element in the human body and therefore is beneficial in maintaining function in the muscles, heart, skeletal and nervous system. It also bolsters a human’s immune system, and helps regulate blood sugar levels and blood pressure.

When used as a metal, magnesium is used as an alloy for aluminum, in die-casting, to expel sulfur in the production of steel and iron and production of titanium. It is also widely used in aerospace parts.
Mercury

Mercury is the only metal that is in liquid form at normal temperature. Also known as quicksilver, mercury is also very toxic. Perhaps its most well-known use of mercury is its application in thermometers and other scientific equipment.

Potassium

Potassium is the eighth most abundant element on the planet. But because it’s so reactive, it doesn’t occur freely in nature. Naturally-occuring salts like potash and saltpeter has been used for centuries, but it wasn’t until 1807 that potassium could be also isolated. In its pure form, potassium is a soft metal. But when it’s dropped into the water, potassium can create fire in it.

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