Chemical Periodicity and the Speciation and Cycling of the Elements

  • M. Whitfield
  • D. R. Turner
Part of the NATO Conference Series book series (NATOCS, volume 9)


In the periodic table the elements are arranged in order of increasing atomic weight in a sequence which reflects the progressive occupation of the available ground state electron energy levels. The periodic chemical behaviour revealed when the elements are arranged in this way is a reflection of both the nature of the electrons available for bonding and the extent to which their behaviour is influenced by the nuclear charge. Numerous attempts have been made to derive parameters which take due account of these effects and provide a quantitative summary of the chemical affinity of the various elements.

Recent studies have shown that partition coefficients de?scribing the distribution of the elements between sea water and crustal rock can be related to a number of parameters which reflect the chemical periodicity of the elements. Furthermore the partition coefficients themselves are related in a simple way to the mean oceanic residence times of the elements so that these parameters, too, exhibit periodic behaviour. Since the partition coefficient/residence time correlation also applies to biogenic particles these relationships might have wide implications.

It has also been shown that the chemical speciation of the elements in natural waters and their biological function can be summarized using a grid whose ordinates are the ionisation potential (Z2/r) and a ‘softness’ parameter which can be related to the electronegativities of the elements. Marked periodic correlations can also be noted here.


Faecal Pellet Crustal Rock Covalent Interaction Covalent Radius Valence Orbital 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1983

Authors and Affiliations

  • M. Whitfield
    • 1
  • D. R. Turner
    • 1
  1. 1.Marine Biological Association of the United KingdomThe Laboratory, Citadel HillPlymouthEngland

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