In chemistry, it is very common to use the periodic table of chemical elements to predict reactions. This is a wonderful tool that most students learn to use in school early on. However, as a biologist, I find that the Hyde chart of periodic elements is much more useful than the traditional periodic table. As I understand, chemists are a bit critical about the Hyde chart because it doesn't accurately depict elements with higher atomic numbers (mostly hypothetical or artificially created), but in biology it makes a lot of sense to have carbon and silicon centrally located. I don't really care much for the lines he made connecting silicon to everything, that was just because Hyde himself had a whole industry around silicon chemistry.

I would like to incorporate the Hyde chart in my beamer based presentations. Now, I can just pull it into GIMP or Inkscape (Wikipedia has an SVG) to highlight the parts I want to highlight (usually adding frames around some specific elements), but it would be really neat if I could have a base in Tikz (or equivalent) to render it myself in the document. It would also be very educational to figure out how to use TikZ or pstricks (or something) to draw more advanced things than table shapes.

TeXample.net has a really nice example of how to draw a traditional periodic table using tikz and tikz styles (and pstricks?). There is also an example here on StackExchange that adds orbital information in a nice way. But they don't really work quite as well to visualize information as the Hyde chart, in my opinion.

The periodic table example from TeXample.net uses individual nodes anchored to eachother in a really nice way, with names for each etc. I was looking at another question about curving rectangles in TikZ to try and get the Hyde chart. But I just can't get anything even close to reasonable. I was also looking at this question to get a spiral with text following it, but I can't figure out a way to use it with the minipage that the periodic element example uses. I really have no idea what I'm doing; I normally just use LaTeX to write text and I know nothing about TikZ. Just trying to puzzle examples together and not doing so well.

I had an idea to modify the periodic table example and just make it follow the spiral shapes of the Hyde chart, so I started with this modification of the minipage used for each element:

% #1 = Name (Hydrogen)
% #2 = Atomic number (1)
% #3 = Symbol (H)
% #4 = Valence (1)
% #5 = Atomic weight (1.00797)
% #6 = Metallic radius
      {\textbf{#2} \hfill #3 \hfill #4}%

...but I don't know how to put a circle with correct size in there, and I don't know how to bend the rectangles correctly. Basically, everything after that is a total mess so there's not much point for me to post a "minimal working example" because I don't have anything working. The examples I have linked are working though... I just need help to puzzle it together. Please.

  • 2
    Well, this will be a lot of work. If you really want to take this as learning challenge, stop putting examples you don't understand together and start reading the tikz manual. Start from the beginning, it has some very good tutorials which give a good start. Also, it does not take much time to read them. Still, this will be hard. You will have to do a lot of calculations yourself. To ease this, some mathematical foundations about the building of the chart will be useful. That all said, i would advise you not to draw this in tikz, not if you don't know what you are doing. Use gimp or so.
    – pschulz
    Feb 10, 2017 at 17:01


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