Periodic Table of Element Groups

Properties of Element Groups

Colored periodic tables show element groups at a glance, which are elements that share common properties.
Colored periodic tables show element groups at a glance, which are elements that share common properties. Todd Helmenstine

One reason the periodic table of the elements is so useful is because it is a means of arranging elements according to their similar properties. This is what is meant by periodicity or periodic table trends.

There are multiple ways of grouping the elements, but they are commonly divided into metals, semimetals (metalloids), and nonmetals. You'll find more specific groups, like transition metals, rare earths, alkali metals, alkaline earths, halogens, and noble gasses.

Click on an element to read about the chemical and physical properties of the group to which that element belongs.

Alkali Metals

  • less dense than other metals
  • one loosely bound valence electron
  • highly reactive, with reactivity increasing moving down the group
  • largest atomic radius of elements in their period
  • low ionization energy
  • low electronegativity

Alkaline Earth Metals

  • two electrons in the valence shell
  • readily form divalent cations
  • low electron affinity
  • low electronegativity

Transition Metals

The lanthanides (rare earths) and actinides are also transition metals. The basic metals are similar to transition metals but tend to be softer and to hint at nonmetallic properties. In their pure state, all of these elements tend to have a shiny, metallic appearance. While there are radioisotopes of other elements, all of the actinides are radioactive.

  • very hard, usually shiny, ductile, and malleable
  • high melting and boiling points
  • high thermal and electrical conductivity
  • form cations (positive oxidation states)
  • tend to exhibit more than one oxidation state
  • low ionization energy

Metalloids or Semimetals

  • electronegativity and ionization energy intermediate between that of metals and nonmetals
  • may possess a metallic luster
  • variable density, hardness, conductivity, and other properties
  • often make good semiconductors
  • reactivity depends on nature of other elements in the reaction

Nonmetals

The halogens and noble gases are nonmetals, although they have their own groups, too.

  • high ionization energy
  • high electronegativity
  • poor electrical and thermal conductors
  • form brittle solids
  • little if any metallic luster
  • readily gain electrons

Halogens

The halogens exhibit different physical properties from each other but do share chemical properties.

  • extremely high electronegativity
  • very reactive
  • seven valence electrons, so elements from this group typically exhibit a -1 oxidation state

Noble Gases

The noble gasses have complete valence electron shells, so they act differently. Unlike other groups, noble gasses are unreactive and have very low electronegativity or electron affinity.

Color Periodic Table of Element Groups

Click here for the list of element symbols.

1                18
1
H
2          13141516172
He
3
Li
4
Be
          5
B
6
C
7
N
8
O
9
F
10
Ne
11
Na
12
Mg
345678910111213
Al
14
Si
15
P
16
S
17
Cl
18
Ar
19
K
20
Ca
21
Sc
22
Ti
23
V
24
Cr
25
Mn
26
Fe
27
Co
28
Ni
29
Cu
30
Zn
31
Ga
32
Ge
33
As
34
Se
35
Br
36
Kr
37
Rb
38
Sr
39
Y
40
Zr
41
Nb
42
Mo
43
Tc
44
Ru
45
Rh
46
Pd
47
Ag
48
Cd
49
In
50
Sn
51
Sb
52
Te
53
I
54
Xe
55
Cs
56
Ba
*72
Hf
73
Ta
74
W
75
Re
76
Os
77
Ir
78
Pt
79
Au
80
Hg
81
Tl
82
Pb
83
Bi
84
Po
85
At
86
Rn
87
Fr
88
Ra
**104
Rf
105
Db
106
Sg
107
Bh
108
Hs
109
Mt
110
Ds
111
Rg
112
Cn
113
Uut
114
Uuq
115
Uup
116
Uuh
117
Uus
118
Uuo

 

* Lanthanides57
La
58
Ce
59
Pr
60
Nd
61
Pm
62
Sm
63
Eu
64
Gd
65
Tb
66
Dy
67
Ho
68
Er
69
Tm
70
Yb
71
Lu
** Actinides89
Ac
90
Th
91
Pa
92
U
93
Np
94
Pu
95
Am
96
Cm
97
Bk
98
Cf
99
Es
100
Fm
101
Md
102
No
103
Lr

 

Element Groups Color Key

Alkali MetalAlkaline EarthTransition MetalBasic MetalSemi MetalNonmetalHalogenNoble GasLanthanideActinide