How is the first element of the periodic table unique?

There are plentiful elements found on our planet earth. Every atom or element has its own characteristics and nature. The simplest and first element in the periodic table exhibits unique characteristics in comparison with the other known elements. We all know that it is the most abundant element in the universe. In this article, we will focus on the first element of the periodic table and the exclusive properties that make it different from other elements.

The first element of the periodic table

The most abundant element in the universe and the third most abundant on the surface of the globe is the first element of the periodic table.

Listed below are the details of the first element of the periodic table

  • Name: Hydrogen
  • Symbol: H
  • Atomic Number: 1
  • Relative Atomic Mass: 1.008
  • Category: Reactive nonmetal
  • Appearance: colourless, odourless gas

Various compounds formed

It is the exclusive element that forms compounds in which the valence electrons are in the first shell. The element combines with other elements either by losing, gaining or sharing electrons. It combines with other elements either by losing, gaining or sharing electrons combined with many other elements and forms compounds such as ammonia methane, sugar, hydrogen peroxide uses, hydrochloric acid, sulphuric acid, nitric acid and many more. The compounds formed are used in various fields such as medicinal purposes, research, preparation of medicines etc.

Properties of the element

Each and every element possess its own unique properties. Listed below are few properties of hydrogen:

Physical properties

  • It is colourless
  • It is odourless and tasteless
  • It is not completely soluble in water
  • It contains a single electron and hence its orbit is incomplete.
  • It has a good combining capacity with most of the elements

Chemical properties

  • It is relatively inert at room temperature due to the strong bond enthalpy of the H–H bond.
  • Under a high electric arc, atomic hydrogen is produced.
  • The orbit completes with a single electron.
  • It has to combine capacity with almost every element.


How is it different from other elements?

This element is different from other elements. Let us see how is it different:

  • It is comparatively less electropositive than any other alkali metals and less electronegative than halogens
  • It forms a neutral oxide.
  • The volumes of H and H ions are smaller in comparison with alkali metals.
  • The hydrogen ion (H+) is unstable in water

Exists in two forms

The element hydrogen exists in two forms

  • Atomic Hydrogen: It is generated when molecular hydrogen is transferred through an electric arc (2273k)placed between tungsten electrodes. The reaction undergoing this process is endothermic and the heat generated is stored up in the atoms. The liberated atoms again combine to form hydrogen, with the release of a large amount of energy that is generally utilised in welding and other industrial purposes.
  • Nascent Hydrogen: The hydrogen formed at the moment of its generation immediately after liberation. This type of hydrogen is more reactive and is a powerful reducing agent in comparison with other hydrogen.


Hydrogen and its compounds have a wide range of applications in various areas.Listed below are few applications of hydrogen.

  • It is a major component in the preparation of organic compounds such as Glucose, Methane, Propanol
  • The manufacture of fertilizers and ammonia will take place in the presence of hydrogen
  • In the extraction of solid fat from vegetable oil using  catalytic hydrogenation
  • In metallurgy and extraction of metals, it is used as a reducing agent
  • Used in filling balloons and airships

Hence, the first element of the periodic table behaves as the most unique element in comparison with all other elements present in the periodic table. It is also the most fundamental element for life as it helps in the biological processes as well.

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