Talk:Properties of metals, metalloids and nonmetals

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Looking at the big picture[edit]

Here's a list of things I'd like to see fixed:

These ideas are all Symbol declined.svg Closed 
Final status:  Relisted:1, Rejected:2,  Done:5, yellow tickY Half done:1 (subparts Rejected:2, yellow tickY Half done:2,  Done:1)
I've left a message for DePiep to see if he can do this. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedMetalloid pic Change it; tellurium looks like a quintessential metal
Tricky, given metalloids look like metals. Did you have anything in mind?
I didn't have anything in particular in mind. Now that I've looked at them, they all look pretty metallic. The silicon picture looks least metallic; it looks a bit like non-metallic obsidian to me. The gallium pic, although it is silvery, seems less metallic because of the crystal structure. (YBG)
Hmm. If they all look pretty metallic then showcasing the least metallic would be dubious; gallium's a metal rather than a metalloid. See list of metalloid lists. Sandbh (talk) 23:07, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Yea, I suppose my idea was rather trying to overemphasize the between-category differences rather than within-category similiarities.
  • yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed  — Comparative properties: Intro paragraph seems a bit too self-referential for my taste.
Had a go at this one
I've tweaked it a bit, too. What do you think? (YBG)
No, that one doesn't work. First para isn't directly related to the section title; second para still too self-referential. I like the version before this one with the intro before the tables and the conclusion and caveat after. I like having some text after the tables. Sandbh (talk) 11:26, 4 February 2015 (UTC)
(a) 1st paragraph -- I tried swapping the paragraphs and that didn't seem to work either.
(b) self-referential -- yea, but I noticed that after I fiddled with the stuff, the self-referentiality didn't seem to bother me as much
(c) conclusion after tables -- IMHO it seems clumsy for the Phys+Chem summary to appear in the Chem section, but it certainly doesn't require a separate section.
It would be real nice if we could combine the two tables into one large table with a half-dozen collapsing sections. This would work well if similar properties were grouped together. I'm looking through MOS:COLLAPSE, and Help:Collapsing and WP:NavFrame to see if I can figure out a nice way to implement this. YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
After we've got the groups organized, I'll investigate our options for collapsing. YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
I've implemented the collapsing sub-tables. Can't quite get the column widths to exactly match when the tables are collapsed, but they are pretty close. Now that it is all one big section, that eliminated my objection to having the summary at the end and so I made it so. Please comment on this and others marked Partly done -- I don't want to mark them as done without some input from others. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
A superb edit, thank you YBG. I changed the chemical property group headings to distributive (meaning "Of, belonging to, or arising from, distribution."), native ("Belonging to, or connected with, a person or thing by nature or natural constitution, in contrast to what is acquired or superadded; esp. of qualities which are inherent or innate in the person or thing.") and combinative (an alloy, strictly speaking isn't a compound; combinative = "Of, pertaining to, or of the nature of combination; cumulative.") Meanings from OED. 'Distributive' is not quite ideal but the best I have for now. The segmented boxes in the metalloid column are clever. They show metalloids are their own show, with a slight nod to the metals, appropriately enough. The accompanying paragraphs work better now. Re the column widths, I presume this has something to do with using percentages rather than fixed widths. Not sure I see any advantage in using percentage column widths. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
(1) yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed  — Other ideas for property group names: "Innate" or "Elemental" and "In combination". Can't come up with an alternative for "Distributive"
(2)  Done — What about labeling the metalloid colorbars with the fractions I've added as comments?
(3) yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed  — What would you think of changing the headers? (b) would work particularly well with labeled colorbars
(a) Physical(Chemical) properties / of metals / of metalloids / of nonmetals
(b) Physical(Chemical) / Properties of metals / Properties of metalloids / Properties of nonmetals
(4) Rejected — I've done some experimenting trying to resolve the column widths. It is not related to using percentages in the colorbar tables.
(5) Rejected — I think it would be nicer if the whitespace between the sub-tables were narrower YBG (talk) 10:08, 9 February 2015 (UTC)
With slight variations, I've implemented (1) through (3) YBG (talk) 02:36, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
Added progress marks to the above items. YBG (talk) 08:45, 10 February 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedComparative properties: Allow the tables to be sorted by the color of the metalloid column
This may be less desirable with the groupings YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
It does not appear possible to do this with the collapsing subtables. YBG (talk) 08:16, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  DonePhysical properties: Is the order given the best order?
Did you mean the order of the individual rows or the organising principle (easy to harder to determine)?
I was thinking of the organizing principle. Ease of determination doesn't help you know where to look for something, and doesn't necessarily group related properties together. (YBG)
Here are what seems to me to be logical groupings (YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC))
  • (3 items) Form; Appearance; Reflectivity
  • (2 items) Conductivity: Electrical conductivity; Liquid electrical conductivity
  • (3 items) Thermal conductivity; Temp coef of resistance; Thermal conductivity;
  • (4 items) Electrons: PT block; Outer s+p electrons; Electronic structure; Electron behaviour
  • (2 items) Deformability: When solid; Poisson's ratio
  • (2 items) Melting behaviour; Enthalpy of fusion
  • (3 items) Density; Packing; Atomic radius; Allotropy
Brilliant! Listed in the following order(?): Form; Density; Deformability; Thermal; Melting; Electrical; Electrons. Still listed by loose order of ease of determination of each lede property. Sandbh (talk) 11:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Sounds good. Any chance of combining groups to avoid so many with just 2 or 3 properties? What would be a good header to use for each group? YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Groups could be: Form-density-deformability; and thermal-melting; and electrical-electrons. Let me think about headers. Sandbh (talk) 23:44, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Descriptive, thermal, electron-related? Sandbh (talk) 00:10, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
OK, it's done that way ... I think there could be some more tweaks. YBG (talk) 03:08, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
Current version: descriptive, thermal, electric works for me. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneChemical properties: Is the order given the best order?
Here are what seems to me to be logical groupings (YBG (talk) 07:03, 6 February 2015 (UTC))
  • General behaviour; Ion formation; Bonds; Oxidation No; Ionization energy; Electronegativity
  • Occurrence: In general; In human body
  • Chemical compounds: With metals; Carbon compounds; Hydrides; Oxides; Sulfates; Halides
That's good too. Since you have to find stuff before you can assess behaviour, I'd go occurrence, general behaviour, compounds. Sandbh (talk) 11:40, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Any comments on the format I've implemented? YBG (talk) 13:19, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Was thinking about something along these lines this morning, and wondering what colour to use for shading. Also whether to left align or centre the headers. Looks good in other words. Sandbh (talk) 23:00, 6 February 2015 (UTC)
Done, for mine. Sandbh (talk) 10:26, 8 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneUnique or notable properties: What order should the bullets appear in?
Atomic number, I reckon
Sounds OK, but the items with multiple elements could prove tricky. (YBG)
All are in atomic number order. Bullets with multiple elements are based on the atomic number of the first listed element. YBG (talk) 07:33, 7 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneEnd matter: What navbox(es) should be included?
I hope to work thru these like this: Not sure Already done
Pending  Relisted
yellow tickY Partly done yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed  •

I've marked some of these Pending; if you disagree, change back to Not sure. YBG (talk) 06:38, 3 February 2015 (UTC)

Added a few comments above YBG (talk) 05:13, 4 February 2015 (UTC)

More about the comparison tables[edit]

These ideas are Symbol declined.svg Closed 

Some things about the tables. The issue with uneven columns is pronounced on my ipad; if I switch to mobile view this becomes worse, since the middle column header rows become mangled. I also see that our current collapsed tables are in breach of MOS:COLLAPSE since they conceal article content.

Upon further reflection I prefer uncollapsed tables. If this means we need to look again at the content and positioning of accompanying explanatory and analytical paragraphs so be it; there does not need to be a paragraph after the tables (as I originally preferred). Happy if we keep the three sub-groupings for each of the sets of physical and chemical properties. This may require some reconsideration as to how we incorporate the sub-groupings into each table. Sandbh (talk) 00:59, 11 February 2015 (UTC)

A weak case could be made for our collapsing tables being in compliance with MOS:COLLAPSE based on "Collapsible sections or cells may be used in tables that consolidate information covered in the main text" -- in so far as the metalloid colorbars consolidate information. But it is a bit of a reach and probably wouldn't hold up any serious opposition. What about having the tables uncollapsed by default? Does that make any difference?
In the end, no matter the MOS:COLLAPSE verdict, the inability to make the column widths match inclines me to give up on collapsing tables. I agree that we should keep the subgroupings in order to make the information more digestible. But I disagree with you about the analytical paragraphs; I think they still provide value, and I like them at the end -- provided we don't redivide it into Physical and Chemical subsections. YBG (talk) 04:53, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I've made several edits in relatively quick succession:
  • 1 (diff) default tables to uncollapsed
  • 2 (diff) two tables without any collapsing
  • 3 (diff) one big table
I'm really disappointed to see the collapsing tables gone, it was a really nice way of providing an overview. Sigh. YBG (talk) 05:38, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
This is quite good (your work, not the final outcome, necessarily). Let me think about this for a little while. Sandbh (talk) 10:42, 11 February 2015 (UTC)
I've added a new mini-table at the top that includes the metalloid colorbars for all of the groups of properties and wikilinks to each group in the main table, which now has "(top)" links so you can get back to the mini-table. I also moved the two summary paragraphs up to the top where they provide a nice narative that corresponds to the colorbars displayed in the mini-table and also fills up what would otherwise be a big blob of whitespace. The first paragraph still needs some copyediting and I'm pondering whether to add a caption to the right of mini-table advising the reader to use the wikilinks to navigate into the mini-table. YBG (talk) 06:08, 12 February 2015 (UTC)
I pulled out my copy of Tufte's The visual display of quantitative information from storage and will have a look for more ideas. We may stifled by the limitations of wiki pipe code etc, but worth a look. My time is a bit limited as I'm also helping R8R Gtrs getting astatine FAC ready, so I could be a while-ish. Sandbh (talk) 04:33, 13 February 2015 (UTC)
See here for an extract of Tufte. I like the supertable at p. 179. The only one in the book but. Note minimal use of vertical rules. 7±2 rule observed within groupings of results. Sub headings not uses when row subject matter obvious. Hanging paragraph format used when a descriptive measure takes up more than one line. No duplication of heading titles. Our table is a little more complicated since we have two levels of sub-headings---physical v chemical, and subheadings within those two, rather than no more than one sub-heading in Tufte's table. Sandbh (talk) 01:22, 14 February 2015 (UTC)

Another read thru[edit]

These ideas are Symbol declined.svg Closed 
Final status: Already done1,  Done5,  Relisted:1

I read thru the whole article -- except for the comparison table and made a number of copy edits. Here are a few things I wasn't able to immediately fix:

  • Lede section
    •  Done - Sentence #1 says "according to their shared properties" but section 1 titled "Common properties"; maybe they should be parallel?
I'll change it to 'shared', since the 'some' properties described in each category of metals, metalloids, and nonmetals are not common (as in typical) within that category but they certainly are shared by the 'some' elements. Sandbh (talk) 11:46, 20 February 2015 (UTC)
Looks good. YBG (talk) 05:41, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  Done - Sentence #2 "as is" seems a bit obtuse in "lustrous appearance (as is, or beneath any surface patina)"
  • I changed this into something plainer. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  •  Relisted - Pic still needs to have the outline added
  • Restored this item -- I think S&BH deleted it by mistake YBG (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Common properties - Metals
    •  Done - "as is" -- same comment as above
  • Hmm. I think this one is OK so as to avoid duplicating the same sentence in the lede. A bit of variety in wording is a good thing, as I see it. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Changed this to "appear lustrous (beneath any patina)". Not 100% sure this is best, so leaving it {{Partly done}}. YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
      • Can't think of anything better, so I'm changing it to {{done}} YBG (talk) 05:41, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
  • Common properties - Nonmetals
    •  Done - paragraph #3 (Some nonmetals ...) seems clumsy, esp. allotropy part.
      Here's what it says now (YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)):
      Some nonmetals (C, black P, S and I) are brittle solids at room temperature however these are also known in malleable, pliable or ductile forms; some other nonmetals are either highly reactive (O, F, white P, Cl) or relatively unreactive (N, black P) or noble.
This is an outcome of the structure of that section into features shared by all, most or some nonmetals. The mention of non-brittle allotropes is to address the text-book error that metals are the only ductile/malleable elements. Sandbh (talk) 09:53, 24 February 2015 (UTC)
Do we really need to say anything about reactivity? What else is there besides "highly reactive", "relatively unreactive" and "noble"? Doesn't that pretty much cover almost everything? Well, I suppose there is "relatively reactive". So are we just saying that almost all non-metals are something besides "relatively reactive"? Or maybe I'm missing something.
I propose that we skip the information about reactivity and just say this:
Some nonmetals (C, black P, S and I) are brittle solids at room temperature (although each of these also have malleable, pliable or ductile allotropes).
YBG (talk) 04:20, 25 February 2015 (UTC)
Implemented the idea above; changing to {{Partly done}} to give others a chance to BRD. YBG (talk) 03:50, 28 February 2015 (UTC)
In view of the deafening silence, I'm changing this to {{done}}. YBG (talk) 03:46, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Comparison
    •  Done - Some rewording of the distribution (geobiochemistry) section might better justify its placement in the chemistry section
Geobiochemistry Metals Metalloids Nonmetals
This is what is currently in article space. I changed the 1st property description to say "Chemical form ..." in order to better justify this item being a chemical property. It seems that most of the reason for the composition of the human body has to do with biochemistry, but it certainly doesn't indicat that here. YBG (talk) 06:00, 19 February 2015 (UTC)
Chemical form found on Earth
(elemental or combined)
most found usually in combined states
some (e.g. Au, Cu, Ag, Pt) occur in free or uncombined states[1]
all found usually in combined states majority (C, N, O, S, noble gases) found uncombined in large amounts
others only combined (except H, F[n 1], Se)
Composition of the human body about 1.5% Ca
traces of most others thru 92U
trace amounts of B, Si, Ge, As, Sb, Te about 97% O, C, H, N, P;
others detectable except noble gases
To make this section a bit more chemical I have thought about listing what kind of combined states (e.g. oxides, carbonates) etc the elements are found in on earth; and how the elements are used in humans (Ca in bones; Fe in blood; H, C, N, O; nearly everywhere; I in thyroid)---but I don't know yet if the latter can be done concisely enough. I presume something like U has no biological uses and is an environmental contaminant. Sandbh (talk) 06:10, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I think you're on the right track. The key will be to avoid getting into too much detail -- e.g., specific organs like the thyroid. What about major categories of biochemistry. Maybe look at the major categories of biochemicals or the major ways different classes of elements contribute to biochemistry. For example, many metals, although they aren't present in large quantities, have a key role in specific biochemicals: iron in hemoglobin, magnesium in chlorophyl, and I'm sure there are other examples. The point is that metals are essential trace elements. Nonmetals form the backbone, especially our old friends the ignoble non-metals, i.e., CHON, which were first mentioned in the middle of our marathon discussion. YBG (talk) 07:02, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
I added "Necessity for mammalian life" instead. Sandbh (talk) 06:02, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
That's good. Describing whether elements are (a) present in large quantites or (b) present in small quantities or (c) absent altogether is certainly better than going into too much detail, but I was wondering (hoping) that there might be something a bit more detailed without being too much so. YBG (talk) 07:04, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
Should we wikilink to Biogeochemistry? YBG (talk) 07:10, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Hmmm. Is there a difference between biogeochem and geobiochem? Sandbh (talk) 22:39, 21 February 2015 (UTC)
Judging by this article, geobiochem is appropriate. Sandbh (talk) 06:08, 22 February 2015 (UTC)
I'm fine with leaving it as GBC but linking to the BGC article, if you think the link would be good. Or we could propose a move to that article. YBG (talk) 07:04, 22 February 2015 (UTC)

This is still in the process of improvement, but I think it now seems to belong in the chemistry section. YBG (talk) 04:04, 28 February 2015 (UTC)

  • Anomalies - Metals
    • Already done - Iron &c. -- Is the first sentence accurate, i.e., are there no other elements strongly attracted to magnets?
  • That is the case as I understand it. The iron metals are so common in modern society that there is a perception that (nearly all) metals are magnetic. I'll be adding citations to items such as this. Sandbh (talk) 11:23, 18 February 2015 (UTC)
    • Great. I just wanted to check since before I listed all elements at the beginning, the exclusive claim had only applied to the STP list.YBG (talk) 15:42, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

(Original list) YBG (talk) 04:32, 18 February 2015 (UTC)

Yet another read through[edit]

These ideas are Symbol declined.svg Closed 
Final status: Already done1, Rejected3,  Done11,  Relisted9 ( Not sure5, Pending4 )

(spelled correctly this time)

Another reading yielded a bunch of minor changes and the following items to think about:

(0) Not sure → (1) Already done
→ (3) Rejected
→ (0) Pending → (9) Relisted
→ (0)yellow tickY Partly done → (0)yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed 
→ (11) Done


§§ Top, Shared properties, Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals

Comparison of properties[edit]

§§ Comparison of properties, Compare1a, Compare1b, Compare1c, Compare2a, Compare2b, and Compare2c
  •  RelistedComparison § lede: One sentence has {{citation needed}}. YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneComparison - mini table: Change top row label 'Total properties' to 'Properties compared' or 'Metalloid properties'? YBG (talk) 07:24, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
I decided to change it to 'Properties compared:', which is nicely ambiguous, referring not only to the number (36) immediately to the right, but also to the row labels below (Physical ... Chemical ...). At the same time, I changed the column labels to (a) Metalloids resemble metals, (b) Metalloids relatively distinctive, and (c) Metalloids resemble nonmetals. (They had previously been (a) Resemble metals, (b) Distinctively metalloidal, and (c) Resemble nonmetals). Leaving this 'Partly done' for the present; I'll change ti to 'done' in a few days unless I have second thoughts or someone objects. YBG (talk) 07:56, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
I've shortened the headers to (a) Resemble metals (b) Relatively distinctive (c) Resemble nonmetals. YBG (talk) 05:45, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneComparison - mini table - {{abbr}}: The mini-table uses {{abbr}} to provide some numbers with tooltips showing (a) the properties included in a group and (b) the properties where metalloids are like metals or nonmetals. This usage conflicts with the following, quoted here from template:abbr/doc:
    Please note: Do not use {{abbr}} or <abbr> to mark up material other than abbreviations or acronyms. Using it to generate tooltips elsewhere is a misuse of the underlying HTML and causes accessibility problems.
    Ought to delete the {{abbr}}, but should this information be shown some other way in the minitable? YBG (talk) 04:23, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
    OK, I read WP:ACCESS and am not quite sure what the accessibility problems for using {{abbr}} to mark up material other than abbreviations or acronyms. While "2" is certainly not an acronym or abbreviation, it isn't too much of a stretch to think of it as an abbreviated form of the list "Form, Colour" which is the intent behind using {{abbr|2|Form, Colour}}, which is rendered 2. For me, the tooltips provide an easy way of scanning the minitable and seeing (a) which properties are included in each group and (b) quickly seeing which metalloid properties are are not distinctive but rather resemble metals or nonmetals. I may ask a blind friend or two to have a look at the article and tell me what they think. YBG (talk) 13:38, 19 March 2015 (UTC)
    There are two things to consider here (a) how much benefit does this hovertext provide?, and (b) how much of an accessibility issue is this?
    re (a), I'm inclined to think the benefit is relatively low, especially since hyperlinks allow you to go back and forth between the mini-table and the main table.
    re (b), We've got much bigger accessibility issues here -- this section uses color extensively in a way that screen readers would not render, and besides, I think the mini-table as a whole would be relatively incomprehensible to anyone using a screen reader. And besides, the information provided in the hovertext (the property lists) is relatively low benefit.
    So, all in all, I don't think it is all that much of an issue one way or the other. All else being equal, I'd be inclined to follow the explicit hovertext guideline. and delete it. YBG (talk) 23:19, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • Already donePhysical - Packing: How should nonmetals be described? Relatively open? Very open? Something else? YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DonePhysical - Allotropy: Need to think on this again, not sure the antecedent of 'a few' and 'some' is clear. YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    Maybe change the 2nd bullet as follows:
    • Currently: a few (e.g. ...) are more X than others
    • Option 1: a few (e.g. ...) are more X than other forms
    • Option 2: a few allotropes (e.g. ...) are more X than others
    • Option 3: a few allotropes (e.g. ...) are more X than other forms
    YBG (talk) 07:24, 5 March 2015 (UTC)
    In the current and the above options, the 'a few' (or 'some') refers to 'a few of these allotropes' (or 'some of these allotropes', and (I presume) the comparison 'more X than' is comparing the oddball allotropes to their brother allotropes, e.g., grey tin is more metalloidal than white tin.
    So, here are some more ideas
    • Option 4: a few allotropes are abnormally X (e.g. ...)
    • Option 5: a few have abnormally X forms (e.g. ...)
    YBG (talk) 21:10, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    I just modified it to
    • Option 6: a few have abnormally X forms, e.g., ...
    I like this because the subject of both bullets are the elements, not the allotropes (around half (of the metals) form allotropes; a few (of the metals) have abnormally X forms). There's more room for improvement: (a) maybe change 'abnormally' to 'unusually' or another synonym; (b) maybe change 'forms' to 'allotropes'. YBG (talk) 05:47, 15 March 2015 (UTC)
    I'm remembering why we didn't have the elements as the subject of the 2nd bullet: With 'forms' plural, it implies that multiple abnormal allotropes per element; with 'form' singular, it implies only one abnormal allotrope per element. But 'one or more abnormally X forms' is wordy and clumsy. Sigh. However, I think that even though Option 6 isn't exactly right grammatically when some have only one abnormal form, I still think it works and is better than the alternatives. But I'm still thinking. YBG (talk) 06:23, 17 March 2015 (UTC)
    Option 7: OK, I've tweaked it again:
    • Metals:  • around half form allotropes  • a few have atypically metalloidal/nonmetallic forms, e.g. Sn(grey), Bi(thin-film)
    • Metalloids:  • all or nearly all form allotropes  • some have atypically nonmetallic forms, e.g. B(red), As(yellow)
    • Nonmetals:  • over half form allotropes  • some have atypically metalloidal/metallic forms, e.g. C(graphite), P(black), Se(grey), I(crystalline)
    Changes: (a) abnormally→atypically; (b) or→/; (c) allotrope+Symbol → Symbol(allotrope) (graphite now parallel). YBG (talk) 04:03, 18 March 2015 (UTC)
    OK, I think I'm satisfied with this now. YBG (talk) 06:06, 22 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  RelistedPhysical - order: I think it would read smoother if electronics were reordered (PT block, Outer s&p, bands, behaviour, conductivity, liquid) and thermodynamics came afterwards. YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Discussion copied to next section YBG (talk) 03:42, 31 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneChemical - order: I think it would read smoother if the groups were elemental → combined-form → environmental; this smaller-to-larger order seems to overcome the idea that 'you have to find it before you describe it' previously mentioned. YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Sounds good to me. Sandbh (talk) 01:32, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
OK, done. YBG (talk) 07:15, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  RelistedChemical - Electronegativity: Can the metalloid description be shorter by combining Allen and Pauling scales? YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  RelistedChemical - Combined form: Can some of the overly-long descriptions be shortened, esp., metalic halides? YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  RelistedChemical - Halides: should metalloids be colored like nonmetals? The differences seem small. YBG (talk) 04:39, 10 March 2015 (UTC)

Anomalous properties[edit]

§§ Anomalous properties, Metals_2, Metalloids_2, and Nonmetals_2
  •  RelistedGeneral - refs: Many of these anomalies are not referenced. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes, this needs to be addressed, eventually. 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneGeneral - bullets : (Hg,Si,He,C) A couple alternatives were tried unsuccessfully; I still think we can do better. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    Latest version with no bullets is hopefully better. 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
    • Trying separate bullets on separate lines, different from what was tried before. Comments? YBG (talk) 16:10, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    • The previous idea, tried on C, was like this, but with the 2nd and 3rd point indented. Another idea would be to indent the 2nd and 3rd, but have them begin in a way that refers to the point above -- e.g., in this case 'In its diamond form, Carbon ...'; in other cases, the wording might be more like 'It is also ...' or the like. YBG (talk) 17:26, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
As per my previous comment. Sandbh (talk) 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Thanks, yes, it is very nice. I'm thinking of seeing what the header lines look like with a ';' prefix instead of explicit bolding. YBG (talk) 06:19, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I tried semicolons and didn't like what I saw -- it increased the space between the header and the detail. The current form using explicit bolding and <br> makes for more space between items and less between the header and the body. I can't think of any improvements YBG (talk) 06:24, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Very good. Sandbh (talk) 06:30, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Just tried yet another tweak. YBG (talk) 22:03, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedGeneral: Some points seem more about compounds rather than elements. Do we want to include these? YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. The properties of the elements are as much about their physical properties as it is about their chemical properties e.g. the general rule that metals have basic oxides and nonmetals have acidic oxides. Sandbh (talk) 11:04, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneNa/Pt/Au: The blurb mentions other alkali metals and Ba also. Should these be listed included in the header? YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Yes. Sandbh (talk) 11:04, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneMn: In order to understand how remarkable 58 is, it would help to know how many atoms are normally in a unit cell. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Believe this has been addressed. Sandbh (talk) 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  RelistedAu: Likewise (but less so), it might help to know equivalent numbers for more normal malleable metals. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DonePb: More details? Is the lead thin? YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Describing it as lead foil seems more than adequate. YBG (talk) 07:38, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneU: Should the quote be italicized? In quote marks? Is it a direct quotation? YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
Direct quotation. Not sure what WP:MOS says. I though it was such a potentially tipping point in world history kind of quote that it warranted italics. But I'll go with MOS. Sandbh (talk) 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
Per WP:MOS#Quotations, it should be in quote marks with no italics. I've done some copyediting. Much as the history provides interesting background, I'm not sure it is really adding that much to the anomalies of uranium. YBG (talk) 00:04, 9 March 2015 (UTC)
Italics have been replaced by quote marks, per WP:MOS#Quotations in italics. Nevertheless, per WP:MOS#Italics within quotations, portions of the quotation can be emphasized with italics provided (emphasis added) is appended after the close quote. Incidentally, I think the quotation and other background material work better now that it is in a note. It keeps the body text emphasizing the anomalies of U. YBG (talk) 06:03, 11 March 2015 (UTC)
When my question over at the village pump gets answered, I'll try adding some emphasis to the quotation. YBG (talk) 17:44, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
My question, subsequently archived at WP:Village pump (policy)/Archive 118 § Footnotes with [emphasis added] or [emphasis in original], generated some discussion, but I never received a definite answer to the question I was asking. I went ahead and used the format I thought best. YBG (talk) 22:03, 29 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DonePu: I changed 'otherwise metals' to 'all other metals'; can someone verify that I haven't exagerated things? YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
You haven't. Sandbh (talk) 11:22, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneB/Sb: Should compare HSO
    & CF
    to sulfuric acid to help understand how big the 2004 discovery was. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC) done YBG (talk) 07:22, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedB/Sb: Do we add a date for the Sb-based acid? If not, maybe remove the date for the B-based one. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
The date isn't important -- it was discovered beforehand. It doesn't compete with the others because it is a mixture. YBG (talk) 07:22, 13 March 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedSi/Sb: I don't think this article needs the details of how the explosive allotropes are prepared. YBG (talk) 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
This detail gives context to the composition of explosive Sb. Sandbh (talk) 11:22, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
I still think it rather more detail than is necessary, but now that the explosive Si and explosive Sb are separated, the paragraphs are a more manageable size. YBG (talk) 23:06, 29 March 2015 (UTC)

End matter[edit]

§§ Notes, Citations, and References

That's it for now. I haven't re-read the anomalous properties. Feel free to comment on these or add your own. YBG (talk) 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)

Consolidating open items[edit]

These ideas are Symbol declined.svg Closed : Final status: Rejected:3,  Done:8, yellow tickY Half done:3
The 'Half done' are: (a) missing refs in lede, (b) missing noble gas exceptions in comparison table, and (c) missing refs in anomalies
All are mentioned adequately in other 'to do' lists: (a) and (c) with the {{cn}} in the article; (b) below in § Noble gases - need more exception notes in table

Collecting what hasn't been dealt with above:

(0) Not sure → (0) Already done
→ (1) Rejected
→ (0) Pending → (0) Relisted
→ (0)yellow tickY Partly done → (3)yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed 
→ (8) Done

It's mostly been me interacting with myself, so if there are any disagreements with final disposition of anything above, add a new item here to re-initiate the discussion. YBG (talk) 03:42, 31 March 2015 (UTC)

§§ Top, Shared properties, Metals, Metalloids, and Nonmetals

  •  DoneLede pic: Add borders on metalloid cells (a la User talk:YBG #Give metalloids a border) YBG (talk) originally 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    Now marked as done; the revised pic with the borders on the metalloids is now showing. YBG (talk) 23:21, 12 April 2015 (UTC)

§ Comparison of properties

Extended content
  • Right then. The info boxes seem to use customised crystal structure names so that's part of the problem. Sandbh (talk) 11:46, 3 April 2015 (UTC)
    • The first list (Be; Zn, Cd; In; U, Np) interchanges commas and semicolons for no apparent reason and it is ambiguous what is implied by the list.
    • Fixed
    • Be/Zn/Cd hcp in template, ambiguous in table
    • Fixed
    • Ir tetragonal in template, ambiguous in table
    • Presume you were referring to In. Fixed
    • U/Np orthorhombic in template, ambiguous in table
    • Fixed
    • Sm rhombohedral in template, not trigonal in table
    • Changed to rhombohedral
    • As/Sb trigonal in template, rhombohedral in table
    • Template is wrong; uses inconsistent name
    • Si/Ge diamond cubic in template, cubic in table
    • Template appears to use a customised name
    • P simple triclinic in template, orthorhombic in table
    • Template is wrong; incorrectly lists low temperature form rather than room temp form
    • F base centered cubic in template, cubic in table
    • Template is misleading as it lists below freezing point form rather than freezing point form
    YBG (talk) 05:54, 2 April 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneAllotropy: For metals I've used "i.e." rather than "e.g." since, as far as I know, Sn and Bi are the only metals capable of forming predominately less than metallic allotropes. Sandbh (talk) 01:21, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
Extended content
  • If you're interested in seeing some of my thoughts that lead me to the version you reverted, read the stuff hidden in the previous section. I'm still not 100% content with the ambiguity ('some' here means 'some of these allotropes', whereas everywhere else in this table when we say 'some' we mean 'some of these elements', i.e., 'some metals/metalloids/nonmetals'. But I for the present I'm content with the reversion.
    Regarding ie under metals, I think the added information that Sn and Bi are the only metals with less-than-fully-metallic allotropes is an important detail that merits more than just the ie/eg distinction -- maybe an addition to the note. YBG (talk) 05:45, 5 April 2015 (UTC)
    Many apologies for my continual backing-and-forthing on this. I still am not 100% satisfied (e.g., the adverb 'uniquely' doesn't communicate very well in this context), but overall I think what we've landed on is fine. I think I'm ready to throw in the towel on this one for now. YBG (talk) 06:53, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    ACK! So I changed 'uniquely' to 'one' and rephrased it a bit. 06:59, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    Perfect. Sandbh (talk) 11:32, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    'Partly done' → 'Done'. YBG (talk) 23:26, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
  •  DonePhysical - order: I think it would read smoother if electronics were reordered (PT block, Outer s&p, bands, behaviour, conductivity, liquid) and thermodynamics came afterwards. YBG (talk) originally 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
Extended content
  • At the moment, electronic properties are more or less ordered in terms of ease of determination. And thermal comes before electronic, since the propensity of metals to conduct heat is more obvious than their propensity to conduct electricity. Presentation and structure takes a similar approach, more or less listing properties in order of ease of determination. I'm fine with a better rationale for ordering properties as long as it is applied consistently. Did you have an alternative rationale in mind? Sandbh (talk) originally 01:32, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
    I was not thinking of a general ordering principle. What got me thinking was looking at behavior and seeing that it mentioned both electrical and thermal conductivity. This lead me to think of having behaviour-conductivity-liquid at the end of electronics, to be immediately followed by thermodynamics, which begins with thermal conductivity. Then I looked at the rest of electronics, and it seemed that the order given (Block-Outer-Bands) seemed good, following a general-to-specific ordering. Also, I just now notice that the general-to-specific ordering here and the smaller-to-larger one in the chemical properties (elemental→combined→environmental) that I just implemented seem to work together well; both are generally consistent with a cause-then-effect ordering. But I made my suggestion for physical properties based only on what seems smoothest locally without looking at the global picture that includes all three sections of physical properties. Incidentally, I don't think it would be good to use cause-then-effect to reorder all of the physical properties. No matter what ordering principal is used, I think it best to make sure that the entire comparison table start with properties like color that are immediately observable by the layman without instruments. YBG (talk) originally 07:22, 14 March 2015 (UTC)
    OK, I think I've thought this through and can give a reasonable narrative for the order as a whole.
    • Physical properties are arranged to start with the more general visible characteristics such as form and structure and procede to the more specific measureable characteristics.
      • We start with the most obvious (form, allotropy) and most visible (colour, reflectivity). Note that I have put allotropy near the top; after all, who would confuse diamonds, graphite and anthrocite? We then continue from macroscopic generalities (density, deformability, Poisson's ratio) to the microscopic specifics (crystal structure, packing, atomic radius).
      • Having arrived at the microscopic level, we describe the general causes related to PT structure (block, s/p, bands) and then procede to the more specific electronic effects (behaviour, electrical conductivity, as liquid) and thermodynamic effects (thermal conductivity, resistance, melting, enthalpy), following a general-to-specific and cause-to-effect within each group.
    • Chemical properties naturally follow physical since they are more specific in that they describe function (what elements do) as opposed to form (what they are and how they appear). Within chemical, we proceed from the general/microscopic/cause to the specific/macroscopic/effect, thus, elemental chemistry determines combined form chemistry which in turn determines environmental chemistry.
      • Within elemental chemistry, we again proceed from generalities and causes (overall behavior, ion formation) to more and more specific effects (bonds, oxidation number, ionization energy, electronegativity)
      • Within combined form chemistry, we proceed from left-to-right in the periodic table (with metals, with carbon, hydrides, oxides, sulfates, halides), which could be argued as starting with the more general in that there are more metals than everything else combined.
      • Within environmental chemistry, we again proceed from the more general macroscopic (composition of, form on earth) to the more specific (mammals, humans)
    All in all, I think this proposed order is not only esthetically pleasing but also thematically consistent. The overall ordering principal is general-to-specific, which usually corresponds to cause-then-effect. At some points, general-to-specific is the same as macroscopic-to-microscopic, but at other points, it is microscopic-to-macroscopic. But overall, general-to-specific is the driver. YBG (talk) 06:11, 1 April 2015 (UTC)
    Please go ahead and make it so. Sandbh (talk) 13:21, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    It is so. Sit back and enjoy. YBG (talk) 15:20, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    LOL! Sandbh (talk) 23:25, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneChemical - Electronegativity: Can the metalloid description be shorter by combining Allen and Pauling scales? YBG (talk) originally 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    This one is OK as is, I reckon. Pauling's is important, as the originator of the concept of electronegativity. The Mann citation is valuable on account of its precision. Sandbh (talk) 13:21, 11 April 2015 (UTC)
    partly done → done YBG (talk) 23:30, 12 April 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneChemical - Combined form: Can some of the overly-long descriptions be shortened, esp., metalic halides? YBG (talk) originally 06:28, 4 March 2015 (UTC)
    not sure → partly done: I have compressed the metalic hydride description by omitting some of the details of group 1 & 2 hydrides, and metalic halides by moving some of the detail into a note. Seems about as brief as possible, leaving partly done for a few days in hopes of input from others. 05:31, 15 April 2015 (UTC)
    partly done → done YBG (talk) 21:47, 19 April 2015 (UTC)
  • RejectedChemical - Halides: should metalloids be colored like nonmetals? The differences seem small. YBG (talk) originally 04:39, 10 March 2015 (UTC)
    • 1st & 3rd bullets are identical: "covalent, volatile" and "usually dissolve in organic solvents"
    • 2nd bullet says of metalloids "some partly reversibly hydrolysed", but of nonmetals "most irreversibly hydrolysed by water"
    As I said above, the difference seems small. Should the colors be the same or different? YBG (talk) 04:17, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
    @Sandbh:, would you weigh in on this? Do you think the difference is enough to justify retaining the difference in colors or sufficiently minimal that we could color the metalloids like nonmetals? YBG (talk) 04:08, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
    Right, I've edited the dot point re hydrolysis to make the distinction much clearer. I'll need to adjust the citations, which I'll do after I finish double checking the citations for the physical properties, as well as the wording to capture some more nuances, but in terms of wording it's fine it'll do for now; feel free to fine tune. Sandbh (talk) 12:19, 30 April 2015 (UTC) Sandbh (talk) 01:19, 2 May 2015 (UTC)
    Not sure → Rejected. I'd still like to do some more editing to make the dot points more balanced. YBG (talk)
    LOL! Sandbh (talk) 22:10, 30 April 2015 (UTC)
    OK, I tried rewording it so that there are multiple parallel short bullets (each 1 line on my monitor) followed by a longish bullet with the exceptions. It was all very tentative -- I'm fairly sure I didn't capture all the nuances correctly -- so I added it immediately after the existing one for comparison and then immediately reverted it. You can see it here. YBG (talk) 04:06, 2 May 2015 (UTC)

§§ Anomalous properties, Metals_2, Metalloids_2, and Nonmetals_2

  • yellow tickY Half doneSymbol declined.svg Closed  — General - refs: Many of these anomalies are not referenced. YBG (talk) originally 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    Yes, this needs to be addressed, eventually. originally 05:05, 8 March 2015 (UTC)
    I have added {{cn}} to the 16 bullets without end-of-paragraph refs. 14 have no refs at all, but two, the very first (Na/K/Rb/Cs/Ba/Pt/Au) and the very last (iodine), have refs earlier in the paragraph. This could be rectified by moving the ref to the end of the paragraph – if the source supports this.
    In the remaining 11 bullets with end-of-paragraph refs, I assume the ref(s) cover all mentioned facts; most have multiple refs within the bullet, or are relatively short or single-focused, so this seems a reasonable assumption, but without checking the sources, I can't actually verify this.
    YBG (talk) 00:53, 13 April 2015 (UTC)
    • to be done → half done / closed: Close from this list; adequate "to-do" list in the article's {{cn}}'s
  •  DoneAnomalies - pics: Add mini-PT's to illustrate each anomaly. If it's too much, let's discuss and consider reverting the change and moving this from done to rejected. YBG (talk) 00:45, 14 April 2015 (UTC)
  •  DoneAu: Equivalent numbers for more normal malleable metals would help show how remarkable gold is. YBG (talk) originally 07:17, 7 March 2015 (UTC)
    not sure → partly done: Added thickness of alfoil by copying from aluminum foil; unfortunately, I couldn't find a reference for the thickness. Leaving partly done in hopes of finding a reference. YBG (talk) 01:35, 17 April 2015 (UTC)
    partly done → done. {{cn}} included above in "General - refs" YBG (talk) 21:47, 19 April 2015 (UTC)

§§ Notes, Citations, and References



Most of its section is about oxides. Why not talk about how it is so strange because of its unique 1s1 configuration and how its chemistry is essentially that of a particle, the proton? Double sharp (talk) 13:13, 8 August 2016 (UTC)

Featured article?[edit]

While I was reading this article for the first time, I was surprised by the quality and format of it. While it definitely needs some reference work (lots of citation needed templates) and the comparison section needs expansion (doesn't even compare boiling point?) I can see a lot of work has gone into this and there is a huge amount of detail. What do you think about working towards a FA? Laurdecl talk 11:08, 19 February 2017 (UTC)

Thank you for your gracious feedback Laurdecl. In the past I've fleetingly thought about developing this article to FAC standard, and nominating it, but have never done anything about it. Personally, I need to have enough motivation, and time, for this kind of thing. I don't have either of these now and, looking ahead at intended commitments, probably won't have for the foreseeable future.
09:26, 21 February 2017 Sandbh
  • ONe can try GA for starters. -DePiep (talk) 10:31, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

Authors who count metalloids as nonmetals[edit]

Incidentally I intend to undo one of your recent edits, the one that changed "Some authors count metalloids as nonmetals with weakly nonmetallic properties" to "Most authors…", unless you have a citation that supports the "Most authors…" opening. The examples I provided can only be interpreted as evidence that some (rather than most) authors count metalloids as nonmetals instead of metalloids. Happy to discuss. Sandbh (talk) 09:26, 21 February 2017 (UTC)

@Sandbh: (I assume you mean me) I replaced "some" with "most" because I removed "Others count some of the metalloids as post-transition metals with weakly metallic properties.", which has been unsourced for two years now. I couldn't find any examples of authors counting metalloids as PT metals, but I could find many who count them as nonmetals. It seems like a reasonable deduction that most authors count them as nonmetals if no examples to the contrary are found. Regardless, the unsourced line should be removed. Thanks, Laurdecl talk 08:27, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
@Laurdecl: Yes, good assumption. I've added a citation giving an example of some authors who count Ge and Sb as PTMs. Sandbh (talk) 22:14, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Tables moved into templates[edit]

I have moved two tables into templates, so they are transcluded. This is very helpful for testing (sandboxing). Also, I have made two level-3 subsections with that: "Overview" and "Details". Especially since that detailes-table is so huge.
Suggestion: let's move paragraph: "Authors differ in where they divide metals ..." to above, as an introduction of the main section 'compare' (there should be text in there anyway, and this one fits fine). -DePiep (talk) 03:00, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Please go ahead DePiep. Sandbh (talk) 04:45, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
Did not do this text move. Text flow does not seem natural anyway (needed, maybe: from introduction of the properties into global remarks?). Someone else? -DePiep (talk) 11:04, 22 February 2017 (UTC)
{{Metals-metalloids-nonmetals: compare, overview}}
{{Metals-metalloids-nonmetals: compare, details}}
Cleaned up the two tables. I'll leave this page for now. -DePiep (talk) 12:01, 22 February 2017 (UTC)

Cite error: There are <ref group=n> tags on this page, but the references will not show without a {{reflist|group=n}} template (see the help page).