periodic table
  • noun a table of elements listed according to their atomic mass and arranged in groups to show similarities in chemical properties between elements
  • A table in which chemical elements are arranged so as to exploit patterns in physical and chemical properties, as provided by periodic law. A typical periodic table is arranged in columns and rows, where the columns represent groups of elements with the same electronic configuration in their outermost shell, which gives them similar properties. As each outer shell is filled, a new row of elements is started, and there is a one-by-one increase in atomic number as the elements progress from left to right.

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