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Essential Elements

30 31 halogEnS thE noblE gaSES ups and downs at periods end The universes most inert and vigorous elements are found in the final two columns of the periodic table. The members of group VIIA, the halogens, are just one electron short of a full shell, and aggresively form compounds. All elements, except helium, neon and argon, bond with a halogen to form a halide. The ninth element, and easily the most electronegative, is fluorine, a pale greenyellow diatomic gas which combines fanatically with almost anything, attacking compounds to form fluorides. The rest of the group are also intensely reactive, particularly that rascal chlorine see mountain peaks opposite. With one more proton and one more electron added, we finally meet the quiet, solipsistic group VIIIA. With all the places of their electron orbitals full, they are closed to business and on the whole content not to react with anything. That said, xenon does form with effort a few compounds with feisty fluorine and its neighbour, oxygen, and a few helium and krypton compounds also exist, so the former name of this group, the inert gases, was changed to the slightly less lazy noble gases. When you next see glowing neon signs, picture those full orbitals frantically buzzing with jumping electrons.
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