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Chalcogens are the elements in group 16 of the periodic table.

Elements in the chalcogen group


Oxygen, atomic number 8, is the only gaseous member of the group. It has two main allotrope forms, dioxygen and ozone, and another two less studied.


Sulfur, atomic number 16, is a yellow brittle solid, of great importance in chemistry and biology. It burns with a blue flame.


Selenium, atomic number 34, is a solid with a few distinct allotrope forms, the most common being red and gray.


Tellurium, atomic number 52, is a gray solid, the heaviest stable member of the group.


Polonium, atomic number 84, is a radioactive metal or metalloid (status disputed), the heaviest member of the group that can be isolated in appreciable quantity.


Livermorium, atomic number 116, was first confirmed in 2000 and so far 5 isotopes of this element are known. The longest lived isotope is 293Lv, with a half-life of 60 miliseconds, is too short-lived for any practical purposes.



Chalcogens are reactive, though they are stable in air.


Oxygen is a colorless paramagnetic gas (ozone is bluish), sulfur is yellow, selenium is gray or red, while tellurium and polonium are both dull gray.


Pure oxygen is harmful, sulfur and selenium have mild toxicity, tellurium is somewhat more toxic, while polonium is very toxic due to its radioactivity.


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