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The periodic table of elements arranges all of the known chemical elements in an informative array. Elements are arranged from left to right and top to bottom in order of increasing atomic number. Order generally coincides with increasing atomic mass.
The rows are called periods. The period number of an element signifies the highest energy level an electron in that element occupies (in the unexcited state), according to the Los Alamos National Laboratory. The number of electrons in a period increases as one moves down the periodic table; therefore, as the energy level of the atom increases, the number of energy sub-levels per energy level increases.
Elements that occupy the same column on the periodic table (called a "group") have identical valance electron configurations and consequently behave in a similar fashion chemically. For instance, all the group 18 elements are inert gases.
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