Names for sets of chemical elements

There are currently 118 known chemical elements, exhibiting a large number of different physical and chemical properties. Amongst this diversity, scientists have found it useful to use names for various groupings of elements, that illustrate similar properties, or their trends of properties. Many of these groupings are formally recognized by the standards body IUPAC.[1]

The following names are approved by IUPAC:

This English Wikipedia uses the below hybrid system in its periodic table subgroupings. These groupings are called category in this Wikipedia (without any claim to universality):

Many other names for groups of elements are in common use, and yet others have been used throughout history. Some examples include:

Any periodic table group can also be used in this sense. Sometimes the group number is used, as in group 14 element, and sometimes the name of the first element in the group is used, as in carbon group or carbon family.


  1. International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (2005). Nomenclature of Inorganic Chemistry (IUPAC Recommendations 2005). Cambridge (UK): RSCIUPAC. ISBN 0-85404-438-8. Electronic version. Retrieved 10 June 2012.
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