Heat & Temperature

Periodic Table

The periodic table of the elements is displayed on a computer screen. Visitors can turn a knob to increase or decrease a temperature reading that is also displayed on the screen.

When the temperature is near absolute zero, i.e. near -273 Celsius, all of the boxes of elements of the periodic table contain an S except for helium which contains an L. This shows that all elements except helium are solids at absolute zero (and at 1 atmosphere pressure) except for helium which is still a liquid. As the temperature increases first one element, then another turns from solid to liquid. Then the helium box displays a G indicating that is has reached the temperature at which it becomes a gas. As the temperature increases the elements turn from solids to liquids and then to gasses. The pattern of their change is intriguing to watch. At any point the visitor can reduce the temperature and watch the elements condense and solidify as the temperature decreases.

This exhibit shows people the relationship between the pattern of the periodic table and the pattern of freezing and melting temperatures of the elements.

We'll be adding interesting info and links here. If you have a good one, we need your feedback