Saturday, June 23, 2007

The Elements

The Universe consists roughly of 88% Hydrogen, 11% Helium and one percent for all the other elements. Here are some interesting facts about the elements, the most basic building-blocks of chemical structure. If you find sort of thing interesting, there's a good book, Nature's Building Blocks: An A-Z Guide to the Elements, by John Emsley.

The Top ten elements in the Earth's Environment (ppm)

1. Oxygen (466,000)
2. Silicon (277,000)
3. Aluminum (82,000)
4. Iron (50,000)
5. Calcium (41,000)
6. Sodium (28,000)
7. Potassium (26,000)
8. Magnesium (21,000)
9. Titanium (4,400)
10. Hydrogen (1,400)

World Mining and Production of Important Elements (thousand tons)

1. Iron (1,000,000)
2. Aluminum (60,000)
3. Manganese (18,000)
4. Copper (12,000)
5. Zinc (11,000)
6. Lead (5,000)
7. Barium (5,000)
8. Titanium (4,300)
9. Chromium (3,750)
10. Fluorine (3,500)

Essential Elements for the Human Body (Fraction of total body mass)

1. Oxygen (61%)
2. Carbon (23%)
3. Hydrogen (10%)
4. Nitrogen (2.6%)
5. Calcium (1.4%)
6. Phosphorus (1.1%)
7. Sulfur (0.2%)
8. Potassium (0.2%)
9. Sodium (0.14%)
10. Chlorine (0.12%)

2 comments:

Jason said...

The top ten elements surprised me somewhat. I would've thought hydrogen and nitrogen would be higher since there are two hydrogen atoms for every one oxygen atom in a molecule of water, and the air we breathe is almost 80% nitrogen.

Who'd a thunk it?

Hansisgreat said...

Two things to consider:
1. Hydrogen is a very small atom, so even though there are more of them, they contribute less to the overall mass of the world.
2. In the air, atoms are farther apart from eachother than in the earth's crust, where they're packed very densely.