Groups :

 Oxygen Family

Tool: Interactive Periodic Table

About the Group
Group 16 is the oxygen family. It consists of the elements oxygen, sulfur, selenium, tellurium, and polonium. Each has six of the desired eight electrons required for the octet in its highest energy level. This means that it takes or accepts two electrons from atoms of other elements to form anions or shares two electrons to form covalent bonds.

Chemical Properties
Oxygen and sulfur are common elements. In fact, oxygen is the most common element (by mass) in the earth's crust. Because oxygen is second in electronegativity only to fluorine, it reacts with almost everything to form compounds here on earth. Selenium has some semimetal characteristics, such as an increase in electrical conductivity when a light is shined on it. Tellurium is a true semimetal, existing in compound with both positive and negative charges. Polonium is an extremely rare radioactive element discovered by Marie Curie and named for her native Poland. This means that the oxygen family is split between nonmetals and semimetals.

Illustration highlighting the oxygen family on the periodic table