Chemical Properties of Elements

Overview of Chemical Properties of Elements

  • Chemical properties of elements refer to the qualities that directly relate to an element’s ability to participate in chemical reactions.
  • These properties determine the way elements behave when they come into contact with other substances, or when they’re exposed to different environments.

Understanding Atomic Structure

  • An element’s chemical properties are deeply influenced by the structure of its atom, particularly the arrangement and number of electrons in its shells.
  • In an atom, the protons are located in the nucleus and have a positive charge, while electrons, situated in various shells around the nucleus, have a negative charge.
  • The balance of these charges is what stabilises an atom and influences its reactivity.

Periodic Table and Chemical Properties

  • The arrangement of elements within the Periodic Table reflects their atomic structure and therefore their chemical properties.
  • Elements belonging to the same group (vertical column) in the Periodic Table have similar chemical properties as they have the same number of outer shell electrons.


  • Reactivity of an element refers to its ability to engage with other elements to form compounds.
  • Highly reactive elements, such as those in Group 1 (alkali metals) and group 17 (halogens), readily form compounds, while elements in Group 0 (the noble gases) are largely unreactive.

Oxidation and Reduction

  • Oxidation is the process in which an atom, ion, or molecule loses electrons during a reaction.
  • Conversely, reduction is the process in which an atom, ion, or molecule gains electrons.
  • These reactions often occur simultaneously and are referred to collectively as redox reactions.

Acidity, Basicity, and pH

  • Some elements can form acids or bases. Acids are substances that donate protons (H+ ions) when dissolved in water, while bases accept protons.
  • The relative acidity or alkalinity of a substance is measured using the pH scale, with a pH less than 7 indicating an acid, and a pH greater than 7 indicating a base.

Understanding Chemical Bonds

  • Chemical bonds are the forces that bind atoms together in a molecule or compound.
  • The two main types of chemical bonds are ionic bonds, where electrons are transferred from one atom to another, and covalent bonds, where electrons are shared between atoms.

Completed understanding of these concepts is key in identifying, predicting and explaining the outcomes of chemical reactions.