Foundations of Chemistry

, Volume 15, Issue 2, pp 199–208 | Cite as

Periodicity in the formulae of carbonyls and the electronic basis of the Periodic Table

  • Peter G. NelsonEmail author


The basis of the Periodic Table is discussed. Electronic configuration recurs in only 21 out of the 32 groups. A better basis is derived by considering the highest classical valency (v) exhibited by an element and a new measure, the highest valency in carbonyl compounds (v*). This leads to a table based on the number of outer electrons possessed by an atom (N) and the number of electrons required for it to achieve an inert (noble) gas configuration (N*). Periodicity of these is nearly complete. The new basis helps to settle the question of the best form of table and related issues.


Element Periodic Valency Carbonyl Electron 



I am very grateful to the many colleagues with whom I have discussed the Periodic Table over the years, especially the late Dr. B. Michael Chadwick, to whom I dedicate this paper, and Dr. David A. Johnson, who read and commented on earlier drafts. I am also grateful to Dr. Nigel A. Young for references to matrix-isolation studies, and to a reviewer for helpful comments.


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© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2012

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of ChemistryUniversity of HullHullUK

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