1-H Periodic Table Tetris tiling

Here we are proposing you to use Tetris tiles, each composed of four squares, to recompose the Periodic Table.


The Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements contains currently 118 elements, which use to be represented in three blocks, namely “s”, then “p”, and finally “d”. Underneath usually two rows of further 14 elements are displayed, the so-called “f” block. Explanation for these four blocs is left to the quantum chemical description of the electron density of each atom, and to the spectroscopical characteristics of each element.

Actually, block “f” should be placed between block s (first two columns) and block d (transition metals). However, that yields a table which is too long for practical purposes, visualization and analysis; furthermore, block f elements exhibits similar chemical properties, and they are scarce in Nature.


A flat surface can be tesselated if one or various tiles can cover it entirely. One of the most famous tile collections if that of the Tetris fame. Those pieces are actually tetrominoes, an extension of dominoes (from 2 squares to 4 for each tile). There are five different tetrominoes, with a different name each; two of them have 2-D reflection in a mirror, which increases the number of different tetrominoes to seven.

Currently (starting 2019), the Periodic Table has 118 chemical elements. This number is not divisible by four, so it cannot be tiled with Tetris. But one can leave out Hydrogen (element 1) and Helium (element 2), so one is left with 116/4=29 tiles.

We suggest you to download and print, if possible in cardboard paper, this pdf document. We have separated blog f, with 28 elements, because the table is too long, and further because it is the least interesting block to explain properties of the PT columns. This leaves us with 118-2-28=88 elements, i.e, 22 Tetris tiles.


Please note, when cutting the tiles, that a few ambiguities exist, even though they have obvious solution. In violet, Nb is unconnected to Mo and Ta, while Mo is separated from Cr and Nb. In green, PT and Au (altogether) must be separated from Pd and Ag. Finally, in clue, As and Sb should be separated. The image with the individual, separated tiles shows everything clearly.

Indeed, if tiles must last for a while and be more easily used, one may add wooeden tiles underneath. It may be worthy the effor.


This puzzle may be further complicated by printing more than one copy of the file, cutting out the tiles… and mixing them up, because finding tiles will be more difficult. However, the main purpose of this game, to provide an overview of the form of the Periodic Table, should not be forgotten.

Please note also the key difference between the Periodic Table of the Chemical Elements and other “Periodic Tables” that are usually found elsewhere: in the PTCE properties along a given column are very similar; every element corresponds to a natural number, from Hydrogen (1) to Organesson (118). Finally, properties along a given row change in a predictable way.