The study of the elements in the periodic table is an interesting one. It can also be seen from the table that elements can also be divided into blocks of four. These are based on the electronic configuration of the elements. For the purpose of this article, a look at these blocks and their characteristics is examined in a little more detail. The particular blocks under consideration are the s, p, d, and f blocks.
The s block
The s-block contains the elements in which the last electron in its configuration falls within the s-subshell in the outer energy level. The elements in groups 1 and 2 are elements in this category. The group 1 elements are called alkali metals while the group 2 elements are called alkaline earth metals. They have low boiling and melting points. They are very reactive. They have either an oxidation state of either +1 or +2.
The p-block elements are the elements that have the last electron in its electronic configuration terminating in the p-subshell in the energy level. The elements between groups 13-18 fall in this group. They are usually non-metals and metalloids. Have variable oxidation state, are mostly non-metals and can be of ionic and covalent bonds.
An element with the electronic configuration in which its last electron terminates in the d-subshell of the penultimate energy level is called the d-block element. They are the group of the transition series elements. They are elements of the groups 3- 12 of the periodic table. They have variable oxidation state, are tough and are high melting metals. They exhibit both covalent and ionic bonds.
For these elements, the last electron in its configuration enters the third before the outermost shell. They are two series of elements at the bottom of the periodic table. The first series follow after lanthanium and for that, they are called lanthanoids while the second series follow actinium and called actinoids. These elements exhibit variable oxidations state, high melting point, and high density.
The four blocks are the basis for modern electronic configuration of the elements.