What does Ta, Os or Rh mean in a periodic table?


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Meta description:- Have you ever wondered what some strange letters mean in a periodic table? What is a periodic table anyways? Read more to find out! 

Tortillas are made up of wheat, bread is made from flour and humans are made up of cells. The cell is the basic and the most fundamental unit of life. Likewise, everything in this world is made up of matter.

Anti-matter does exist but it is not found anywhere in this universe. Matter can be defined as the fundamental unit of creation. Or existence if you don’t believe in a creator.

The matter is something that we are all made up of and the matter is what defines us as elements. The matter is made up of atoms and molecules where there are about 118 different types of atoms known to mankind. During the time of Dimitri Mendeleev, there were just 63 of these that were known to mankind. 

Based on the number of electrons and protons in their outermost orbit, we have categorised these elements into a periodic table. Scientists have unanimously decided that we would use the short form of these elements and that’s why we choose this. Let us study them in detail:-

What does Ta, Os or Rh mean? 

Ans. When we see the periodic table that follows the periodic trend, we have decided that we would classify elements based on their characteristics and atomic number. Now, because of this many elements are placed in the periodic table in the same group as those who exhibit the same properties. 

  • As far as Ta goes, Ta is a short form for tantalum. Tantalum is a chemical element that goes in many forms. It is a silvery metal that is like sodium. It can be cut through with a knife because of how soft it is. The atomic number of tantalum is 73 and it is a group 5 element. This means that it belongs to the D-block. It is used for places with high electrical input such as capacitors. You would even find the metal in surgery as an artificial joint for sutures. 
  • For Os, Os is the short form for Osmium. Osmium is one of the rarest metals on earth and is considered to be one of the hardest natural materials known to mankind. Although it is so hard, it is quite brittle and can be broken down easily. But, it is so hard that it can easily block a bullet. The metal is bluish-white and can be found in platinum cores. It has an atomic number of 76 and is a group 6 element. This means that it is also a D-block element. 
  • Rh stands for Rhodium and it is one of the most extraordinarily rare materials on earth. It is so rare that it is said to be present only in 40 ppt in the earth’s crust. That is 40 parts per trillion. It is a silvery-white metal and is also a part of D-block elements. Rhodium has an atomic number of 45 and is a member of the platinum core groups. This means that the metal would be found in platinum cores. It is a group 9 element and is used in white gold to form a layer on the same to protect its film. 

Why are elements denoted in their short forms? 

Ans. Before the 19th century, we knew that we had a lot of elements that were being used in the world. But, there was no specific site or text where you can find the names or classify every natural element or atom made and ever to exist.

This led to many scientists formulating many formulas such as triplets and octaves. But, although these formulas work, as new elements were being discovered, there was no space to insert everything.

A German professor, Dimitri Mendeleev was the first person to invent the periodic table. 

The periodic table was formed where all the elements were kept according to their atomic number and certain properties.

This was one of the most crucial developments in the history of the periodic table and what we see the table as it is today is a modified form of Mendeleev’s periodic table. Now, the elements aren’t written in short forms because Iron would be written as Ir but it is denoted as Fe for ferrous.

Thus, these short forms are called symbols and they are made so that we can find it easier to remember the periodic table. Also, it was quite easier to write the symbols of these elements in chemical reactions rather than the entire name of these elements. 

Thus, symbols were born that would help to denote the variety of chemical compounds present in the periodic table in many chemical reactions, atomic chains and even structure making.

This was the perfect solution rather than writing the whole name of the element. Plus, most of the elements such as iron are known as iron in English but in the periodic table, it is called Ferro metal. 

Are Os, Ta and Rh metals? 

Ans. When we talk about metals, metals are usually substances that are found below in the earth’s crust or below the surface of the earth.

They are very lustrous and shiny, and their texture is somewhat silvery and hard.

  •  Most metals are very hard such as copper and iron while some of them are quite soft such as tantalum or sodium. Metals belong to the inorganic nature of chemistry because they are not bonded with carbon in any form and they are not made from things that were alive in the past. The best example for this would be fossil fuels which were created because of dead living matter. 
  • Although metals do not come from living things, many living things do contain metallic compounds. Do you know about the metal in your bone? It’s calcium. It’s another metal that helps sustain life. Likewise, there are many metals and metallic compounds which are present in some form or the other inside life. 
  • Most of the D-block elements are in fact metals. Thus, there are more metals in the periodic table rather than nonmetals or metalloids. When we talk about Osmium, rhodium and tantalum, they are all present in the D-block of the periodic table and thus it makes their metals. Also, you should note that metals conduct electricity as they have many free electrons that can jump and thus create current. As all three of them are good conductors of electricity, lustrous and shiny in looks, thus they are metals and not anything else.