A diagonal relationship is said to exist between certain pairs of diagonally adjacent elements in the second and third periods (first 20 elements) of the periodic table. These pairs (lithium (Li) and magnesium (Mg), beryllium (Be) and aluminium (Al), boron (B) and silicon (Si) etc.) exhibit similar properties; for example, boron and silicon are both semiconductors, forming halides that are hydrolysed in water and have acidic oxides. Such a relationship occurs because crossing and descending the periodic table have opposing effects. On crossing a period of the periodic table, the size of the atoms decreases, and on descending a group the size of the atoms increases.
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