Wikipedia talk:WikiProject Elements

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WikiProject Elements (Rated Project-class)
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Dubnium at FAC[edit]

We're having one more FAC, and I hope it'll go well! I'll be very glad if you can find some time to comment the article. R8R (talk) 07:37, 27 February 2018‎ (UTC)

Layout advice/plans for "Compounds"[edit]

For the elements pages, my understanding is that we typically have:

  • a subsection on "properties" where the behavior of the element (zero-oxidation state) is described.
  • a section on "Compounds".

I suggest that we aim to standardize the layout of the Compounds section. The plan:

  • short paragraph with an overview (most important cmpds from commerce (usually tonnage) perspective)
  • option A: subsections organized according to compound classes (oxides/sulfide, halides, organometallic, ...), describing iconic or important representatives.
  • option B: subsections organized according to principal oxidation states (Mo(VI), Mo(V), Mo(IV), ...), describing iconic or important representatives.

Unsolved problem: a lot of important compounds are often described in the refining section. Advice/comments are welcome! --Smokefoot (talk) 16:31, 7 July 2018 (UTC)

I can understand having oxidation states described in the element's article, but why have compounds in there? -DePiep (talk) 00:32, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
Oh, I hadn't thought of that. You mean omit an overview of the main compounds derived from the element? Just list the main oxidation states? We could also remove anything from the article that does not involve the element per se. So iron would only involve the metal and its alloys. --Smokefoot (talk) 01:58, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
Why so cynical, Smokefoot? You first propose a section compounds, containing either by class or by oxidation satate i.e., a systematic completeness. Now here you write "an overview of the main compounds", which is a different approach with different results. So let me rephrase my point: what approach, setup and completeness would we adopt for describing compounds in there? - DePiep (talk) 10:05, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
I think it is absolutely necessary to include compounds in the article. You can hardly describe the element's reactions without starting to talk about them, and they are an integral part of the element's chemistry. I find Smokefoot's suggestions all very reasonable. I don't see a problem with discussing important compounds both in Compounds (or Chemistry) and in Production; the former should focus on their chemistry, and the latter should focus on their place in the production of the element. (We would have to mention the useful ones again in Applications, after all.) Double sharp (talk) 04:41, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
Sounds good. Would mean the options A, B are not used btw (not all compounds in one dedicated section, but mentioned in appropriate sections per relevance. Can we apply this to all element articles? Side question: should/would some compounds end up on the infobox? - DePiep (talk) 10:11, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
That is not what I meant. I meant that compounds should be in both a dedicated section and mentioned in other appropriate sections as well; the dedicated section discusses chemistry, while the other sections discuss their uses, production, toxicities, and so on (Applications, Production, Precautions respectively). This is because an article on an element ought to discuss its chemistry, and it is impossible to discuss its chemistry without its compounds. That is why all our actually good element articles have a section called "Compounds", "Chemistry and compounds", or perhaps "Chemistry"; if you don't have such a section, it can't be a complete and well-organised article (recognising that it's a necessary but not a sufficient condition). Obviously, we should not be mentioning all compounds, but only the important ones that you cannot understand the element's chemistry without: we're not going to cover all of organic chemistry in the carbon article, for example. But if "compounds" as a section would be taken out of our element articles they would not even deserve B-class in my opinion, as it would be an obvious omission. The place to focus on the element alone is the infobox, not the article (so I would keep compounds out of there). Double sharp (talk) 12:16, 8 July 2018 (UTC)
Thanks DePiep and Double sharp for the input. I will try to review the "Compounds" section for more metals and try to ensure that each has some sort of overview. I am leaning toward a brief intro laying out oxidation states followed by subsections on oxides/nitrides/sulfide then halides and then organometallics. Such approach probably is more generally useful. But the main thing is that we provide some sort of overview of the main compounds. --Smokefoot (talk) 02:02, 9 July 2018 (UTC)
@Smokefoot: - If molybdenum is how you would change the articles - I would suggest to have some subsection which describes the chemical properties of the element itself. You removed that it reacted with O
2
, and afaics the only mention of the element is now under "physical properties" which states "t does not visibly react with oxygen or water at room temperature," (does or doesn't it react with water...?). I.e. some information like does it react with O
2
, H
2
O, halogens, etc. Christian75 (talk) 11:29, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
@Christian75:My counter-suggestion, respectfully offered, is to restrict the chemistry in the "Properties" section to air (O2, CO2, N2) and water. One exception might be tarnishing of silver by sulfur compounds. My perspective is that the "Properties" section would give insight to those handling the bulk metal. It seems preferable to avoid overlap between "Properties" and the "Compounds" sections. But you do raise a good point that reactions of the metal with simple reagents should be mentioned somewhere because they are very "elementary" (sorry). Virtually every element reacts with F2, Cl2, sulfur, and those simple reactions could be included. Another thing that could be included in "Properties" is resilience to common acids (HCl, H2SO4). But that behavior is probably too sensitive to describe well. It might be worth seeing what the German Wiki is up to because that one is very good.
PS: About Mo and water: no reaction. Like all metals, this non-reactivity is the result of passivated surfaces. Transition metals do not react with water near STP. In fact, I think only the only elements that react with water near RT are alkali metals and the halogens, but other editors might know exceptions.--Smokefoot (talk) 13:01, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
I looked at the German wiki. The have a section named "Chemische Eigenschaften" (chemical properties) and generally a lot more about the chemical itself. (Mo is not a very good article, but e.g. de:Wasserstoff (Hydrogen) has a lot of chemistry in one section. Some of the content is in our hydrogen, but you have to search for it. Christian75 (talk) 17:10, 13 July 2018 (UTC)
The alkaline earth metals from Ca downward react with water (slowly for Ca, but it gets quicker going down the group). The lanthanides and actinides will also react. (Sc and Y will also react according to Greenwood and Earnshaw, but the reaction is very slow at RT unless the metals are finely divided.) But indeed, the transition metals proper (i.e. excluding the rare earths) will not react with water near STP; the group 12 metals also do not. Mentioning of the reaction of the elements with common reagents under the properties of the element rather than its compounds is absolutely fine by me; after all, it passes the benchmark of "if Greenwood and Earnshaw do it, it's a good idea". ^_^ Double sharp (talk) 15:42, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────────From Double sharp's "That is not what I meant. I meant that ..." comment above, I learn & understand what our good element articles have (that is: already have). But somehow Smokefoot removes the word 'Chemistry' from the TOC in Mo (a GA=i.e., good article) [1], and much more changes that by effect impose Smokefoot's own proposal while ignoring Double sharp's setup description. I object to Smokefoot's edits, as being controversial at least but actually not supported by consensus. While some detailes may be an improvement, the larger changes are to be reverted. - DePiep (talk) 22:19, 10 July 2018 (UTC)
I actually find Smokefoot's edits perfectly reasonable and support them. While I would prefer to have chemistry discussed alongside compounds, there does not seem to have been any discussion of chemical reactions of Mo metal in this section beforehand, so the title is justified for now even though this is an omission here (which I expect will be remedied soon). As for the Mo article: though it is marked with a green plus, I do not believe that it should be a GA in its current state due to its deficiencies in chemical coverage (B would be more justified IMHO). This is why I referred to "actually good" articles rather than "good" articles. By the adjective "actually" I meant to imply something different than GA, as an article can pass GA and still not be good in anything but name if it is incomplete like this; I think a lot of our transition metal articles are like this (e.g. scandium). Double sharp (talk) 05:58, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

@Smokefoot: It can be useful to include a chemical properties section before discussing compounds, in order to give an overall impression of the chemical nature of the element in question. For example, Mo is one of the few metals that does not form a simple cation and does not have a basic oxide; unusually for a metal it has a relatively high EN of 2.16, and a positive standard electrode potential. Cotton et al. (Advanced inorganic chemistry, 6th ed.) note that the chemistry of Mo is among the most complex of he transition elements (p. 922). The astatine article has a nice Chemical properties section, showing the utility of such a construct. You seem to be heading towards such a structure anyway i.e. Physical properties, Chemical Properties (reactions with air etc, and common acids?), Compounds. Sandbh (talk) 08:07, 11 July 2018 (UTC)

@Sandbh: Helpful comments. I do like the idea of a preface. Giving the range of oxidation states and mentioning something about important compounds might be one way to give some insights into the element. I am unfamiliar with the meaning of a "simple cation", sounds suspect or archaic. The astatine article might be unrepresentative since its chemistry is so unimportant, not much context since no one uses it. Related to the metals, I have never (or v rarely) heard any inorganicker refer electronegativity except in the case of Au. But these perceptions do not mean that I am correct and might reflect my blindspots. But we can agree on some brief overview statement. Cheers,--Smokefoot (talk) 13:14, 11 July 2018 (UTC)
Simple ion is another word for a monoatomic ion Christian75 (talk) 17:04, 13 July 2018 (UTC)

@Smokefoot: Thank you. What I said was partly wrong; I must have written it in my sleep. Molybdenum does form a simple cation (aq), and the standard electrode potential of molybdenum (–0.20) is negative, not positive. Regarding the meaning of "simple cation", and further to Christian75's comment above, Parish (The metallic elements 1977, pp. 113, 133) discusses the aqueous chemistry of the 4d- and 5d- metals (excluding group 3) and notes that only in a few cases are "simple" aquated cations known. In a similar vein, and in writing about the hydrolysis of cations in aqueous solution, Smith (Inorganic substances: A Prelude to the study of descriptive inorganic chemistry 2000, p. 173) refers to simple cations as "Mn+(aq)".

I was surprised about your observation that inorganic chemists don't, or very rarely, refer to electronegativity (but for Au). In scanning the molybdenum article I saw that the Physical properties section made mention of the electronegativity of molybdenum as well as some other chemical properties. For clarity, I've extracted all of these chemical properties and placed them in their own section. And I added a citation-supported sentence about molybdenum's disinclination to form a cation in aqueous solution.

Perhaps the important thing is whether mentioning electronegativity in the preface would add any value, or reader interest. For example, it could be added that "among the non-noble metals, only tungsten has a higher electronegativity."

I feel that flourishes such as this, together with molybdenum's refractoriness; its reluctant cationic nature; and seemingly complex chemistry, have the potential to make the article more engaging. Sandbh (talk) 06:11, 14 July 2018 (UTC)

Note: Smokefoot has continued this thread on my talk page, here. Sandbh (talk) 08:17, 15 July 2018 (UTC)
WTF Smokefoot? Talk here openly at wp:elements or don't talk at all. Realy, any serious WP editor would not go private on a public issue. sandbh. -DePiep (talk) 22:54, 21 July 2018 (UTC)
It just seemed that the conversation was settled (or going nowhere) so I didnt want to bore other editors with my responses to sandbh on his specific points The gesture was one of politeness. I dont understand DePiep's tone, is he in charge of something? In any case, I paste in the main points below.
  • I support the idea of a mini-preface when discussing compounds. The preface could give the range of oxidation states and mention something about important compounds.
  • The concept of "simple cation" is archaic, and seems to be mishandled by editors here. Not included in any class I ever got or gave.
  • The astatine article is unrepresentative since its chemistry is unimportant, my focus is on compounds of non-radioactive elements.
  • Related to the metals, I have almost never heard any inorganicker refer to electronegativity. Ligands so dominate the properties of complexes that the concept is useless. But that is a chemistry perspective. --Smokefoot (talk) 22:19, 22 July 2018 (UTC)
Mo/W electronegativity is higher only on Pauling scale because of strong multiple homoatomic bonds between their atoms. In chemical sense, their electronegativity is not very high. Droog Andrey (talk) 08:12, 19 July 2018 (UTC)

Big discussion now archived[edit]

... with the final index located in Archive 35 YBG (talk) 05:08, 23 July 2018 (UTC)

Metal article update[edit]

Foamed aluminium, perhaps with a density of 12 g per cm3

I've been doing some work on the Metal article.

I remember seeing it several times in the past. It was hard going. I felt disappointed given metals form such a core part of chemistry, physics, and materials science. The article itself is viewed about 720,000 times a year. Then again it must have been tough to write given it covers so many disciplines.

Anyway I've had a go and am reasonably happy with the way it looks now, apart from the History section, which needs a lot more work. Many citations need to be added, too.

Could you please let me know how the metal article looks to you now? Sandbh (talk) 05:24, 11 August 2018 (UTC)

Discovery era in the periodic table[edit]

PS: Along the way I happened to be looking at the Periodic_table_(discovery_periods) template, here. The background color legend to this template is a masterful piece of work. Kudos to User:DePiep for that.

Thanks :-), but the colors were there already before I first touched it in 2012: [2] ;-).
Still on my mind: instead of time periods of discovery, why not classify them by discovery technique (X-rays, Optical spectrometer, cyclotron). -DePiep (talk) 15:22, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
@DePiep: that is an excellent idea! YBG (talk) 16:28, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
It is about {{Periodic table (discovery periods)}} -DePiep (talk) 22:24, 11 August 2018 (UTC)
Right, but maybe have a {{Periodic table (discovery methods}} or something? Close correlation, but as you point out, actually different concepts. YBG (talk) 00:44, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
(expanding on method of discovery:)…specify the old known metals e.g. along: "native form", "processed chemically/physically" (melting), "after 1809", ... - DePiep (talk) 08:02, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
@DePiep: Could you clarify what you mean? Sandbh (talk) 01:32, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Sandbh (my comment was in wrong position, refactored/repositioned). I meant to say: if we illustrate the discovery of elements not by era but by method of discovering, maybe we could be more specific about the metals' discovery. II was reading Metal#History. - DePiep (talk) 06:07, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
DePiep: Ah, I see, That would be worth exploring. Metal#History stills need a lot of work. Sandbh (talk) 07:28, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Yeah, I only wanted to privide the link. Interestingly, the period colors could be sequential by time, (say like these colors). That would illustrate, roughly, higher atomic numbers being discovered later, and outlayers for noble gases. - DePiep (talk) 10:20, 12 August 2018 (UTC)
That is good. There are seven discovery periods. Could we use the seven colours of the spectrum? I know using indigo is always a challenge. Perhaps the colour frequencies could be matched to the year of discovery? Sandbh (talk) 00:47, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

@DePiep: I could have been clearer. The colours were already there. What I was impressed about was the minimalist layout of the legend, compared to what was there before. It is unusual and refreshing to see a table like that without borders around each cell. Sandbh (talk) 00:38, 13 August 2018 (UTC)

See {{Periodic_table_(discovery_periods)/sandbox}}. Not ideal, hard to distinguish (cannot link an element to a legend color without guessing). - DePiep (talk) 06:01, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
@DePiep: Might this help(?): End of the rainbow? New map scale is more readable by people who are color blind.

Quote: Nuñez and…Renslow tackled this problem with their new scale, which they call cividis, by using just two colors with a clear brightness hierarchy: blue and yellow. Just as with a gray scale, people perceive the brightest yellows as peaks and the darkest blues as lows. But viewers can perceive a greater level of detail with colors instead of shades of gray. Unquote

There is a link in the linked page to the parent article, which is open access. Sandbh (talk) 07:53, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
Very useful, different approach (in a sequential scale!) than [colorbrewer2.org]. BTW, on the other issue (re more meningful legend classes): already I see some discovery-techniques in today's legend. OTOH, the "2000" border is arbitrary, and ~meaningless imo. Worth exploring? DePiep (talk) 08:02, 13 August 2018 (UTC)
The borders are worth exploring. They look OK to me. The 2000 border is arbitrary but then again the pre-2000, post-2000 divide has a reasonably strong recognition in modern culture. People talk about something being "so last century" for example. Sandbh (talk) 01:32, 14 August 2018 (UTC)
Wow, only published this month :-) . First thoughts. re cividis (new term), also viridis is mentioned. wrt the periodic table: the cividis blue-yellow scale is very good wrt color blindness (as opposed to the rainbow) -- by design. In the PT, we have discrete categories not a continuous scale. 9+1 categories may be a bit much to recognise (interpreting: reading from element cell to legend, or vice versa). However, since the categories are trendlike over a period, we might use three colorsnot two (CB-problematic colors not neighbouring). Also: the introduction correctly & nicely describes some problems with the rainbow scale (apart from CB): the rainbow has no intuitive order to the human interpretor (physically is has of course). Later more. -DePiep (talk) 08:34, 13 August 2018 (UTC)