Chemistry: The Oxygen Family

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Also known as the oxygen family, chalcogens are sulfur (S), selenium (Se), tellurium(Te), and polonium (Po). Oxygen (O) is also in group 16, where chalcogens are located on the periodic table. While it is defined as a chalcogen, oxygen and oxides are often separated from chalcogens because its chemical behavior is much different than that of the other elements in the group. The other elements in the group show similar patterns in their electron configurations resulting in similar chemical behavior. The name chalcogen means "ore former," derived from the Greek words chalcos: ore and -gen: formation. An interesting fact is that oxygen is the most abundant element on Earth, second most in the Atmosphere, and third in the whole universe. It is colorless, odorless, tasteless, and very reactive. It’s name is derived from the latin words “oxy” and “gen” meaning “acid forming”. It can be found in the sun and plays a key role in energy production. Although in its natural state it is colorless, when in solid or liquid form, oxygen is a pale blue color. Before Leonardo da Vinci suggested that the air was made up of two different gases, air was thought of as its own element. Joseph Priestley is usually the one credited for discovering oxygen but Carl Wilhelm Scheele also reported it. Sulfur on the other hand, has a yellow color and can come in many different forms. It is often used in rubber and gunpowder. Sulfur is also the tenth most abundant element in the universe. Because it is found in many other minerals, Antoine Lavoisier had to convince the other scientists of his time that sulfur was its own element. Its name is derived from the ancient names for the element. Most sulfur is found in sulfuric acid which is used in many things such as...

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