Four new chemical elements have just been approved by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC). They thus complete the seventh row of the periodic table. 

The periodic table, or Mendeleev table, changed its face. The seventh line where traditionally found four empty spaces was completed. This new version was officially approved on December 30 by the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC).

The institution has verified and approved the arrival of four chemicals that have temporarily been appointed ununtrium (UUT or element 113), ununpentium (Uup, item 115), Ununseptium (UUS, element 117), and ununoctium (Uuo, element 118 ). For chemists around the world, it is a discovery size, better yet “an Olympic gold medal”, the last dating back to 2011 now last.

The elements of the Mendeleev table are ordered by increasing atomic number, based on the amount of protons present in their nucleus. Thus, it is possible to theorize the existence of unknown elements corresponding to empty areas of the table.

Of superheavy elements and unstable

The new elements approved by IUPAC, however, were not easy to find and with good reason, they are called “superheavy” and therefore unstable. Because they decrease very quickly, it is almost impossible to find in nature on Earth. These elements exist only a split second before decaying into lighter atoms.

To identify them, scientists have had to artificially recreate in their laboratories. A process that can take years. “We work on atoms of a kind, we are accelerating at blazing speeds then we are breaking on a target,” said the BBC Andrea Sella.

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