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MODERN PERIODIC LAW
Mendeleev’s periodic table had some discrepancies, which were difficult to overcome. For example, the atomic mass of argon (39.95 amu) is greater than that of potassium (39.10 amu), but argon comes before potassium in the periodic table. If elements were arranged solely according to increasing atomic mass, argon would appear in the position occupied by potassium in our modern periodic table (see in Figure 8.1). No chemist would place argon, a gas with no tendency to react, in the same group as lithium and sodium,which are two highly reactive metals. This kind of discrepancies suggested that some fundamental property other than atomic mass must be the basis of periodicity. The fundamental property turned out to be the number of protons in an atom’s nucleus, something that could not have been known by Mendeleev and his contemporaries.
Henry Moseley, a British scientist in 1912, discovered a new property of elements called atomic number, which provided a better basis for the periodic arrangement of the elements. It is a well- known fact that atomic number of an element is equal to the number of protons or the number of electrons present in the neutral atom of an element. The periodic law was, therefore, modified to frame a modern periodic law, which states that
“The physical and chemical properties of the elements are the periodic functions of their atomic numbers”.
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