Quantum Theory Challenge #1


Discussion
The structure of our universe today is dependent upon the value of several universal constants which cannot be predicted from theory but must be observed. For example, according to Stephen Hawking, an eminent physicist, if the charge on the electron had been different from a -1 stars would either not have been able to "burn" hydrogen or they would not have been able to explode and scatter heavier elements back into space to eventually form planets. Under either of these circumstances life as we know of it would be difficult or impossible.
The properties of the elements are also dependent on these universal constants, namely the quantum numbers.

The Challenge
Create the periodic chart, for the first 116 elements, that would result from the following allowed values for a "new" set of quantum numbers.

New Allowable Quantum Number Values
Principle (N): 1 to infinity
Secondary (L): 0 to N. (changed from 0 to N-1)
Magnetic (M): -L..0..+L
Spin (S): +1/2, and -1/2

In constructing your chart you are assume that "all other factors remain equal". (This probably would not be the case but it will give you a point to start from and make the task easier.)

Now that you know what the periodic chart would look like in this new universe, answer the following questions based on this new periodic chart. Be prepared to defend your answers!

1. The most reactive nonmetal. __________
2. The composition of air. __________
3. The element that would form the basis of life. __________
4. The highest oxidation state of aluminum. __________
5. The element that would build strong bones. __________
6. People with high blood pressure would have to avoid this element. __________
7. The most reactive alkali metal. __________
8. The charge of the CH ion. __________
9. The elements at the beginning and end of the sixth series or period. __________
10. The element that would form the major compoent of steel. __________
11. The most reactive metal. __________
12. The smallest halogen atom. __________
13. What element would be used in the GoodYear blimp __________
14. Would the GoodYear blimp still fly? __________
15. The diatomic elements. __________
16. The common oxidation states of gold. __________
17. The formula of Argon Aluminide. __________
18. The most electronegative element. __________
19. The "new gold". _________
20. The two elements in the first period that would have ionization potentials less than the element that precedes them._______


Instructor Notes

This assignment forces students into a thinking situation where hopefully they will see the relationship between the periodic chart and the Quantum selection rules. The net effect of the changes I have made is to allow each suborbital to occur one energy level sooner. That is, 1p's, 2d's, 3f's etc. are now allowed. The periodic chart that would result in such a universe is below:

Depending on how the student interprets the phrase "all other factors remain equal" some of the questions have several answers. The important factor to keep in mind is whether students can justify their answers. Some possible answers are given below:

1. N
2. B and C
3. Be
4. +5
5. Ar
6. Cl from ClP (the "new" NaCl)
7. At
8. -1
9. At and element 116
10. Cr
11. At
12. N
13. O
14. yes
15. H, B, C, N, P, As, Sb, and maybe Bi
16. +3, +1
17. Ar3Al2
18. N
19. Ir
20. Li and C


 
Questions? Comments??