How do valence electrons affect reactivity?

  • Mark as duplicate
    Is this question the same as another on Socratic?
  • Close question
    Close questions that are inappropriate or unanswerable
2 Answers
Add an answer...
Add more explanation

Teaching the how or why of an answer is the magic that helps students answer future questions like this on their own. Add detail, anticipate tough spots, & walk through the problem step-by-step.

Fix formatting

Take this answer from great to epic by adding helpful formatting that makes it easy to read. White space, indents, headings, & equations formatting are all your friends!

Make answer simpler

The easier the answer is to understand, the better it is for learning—this isn't an encyclopedia! Define complex terms, reword confusing jargon, & remember that longer isn't always better.

Check for inaccuracy

Make sure the information in this answer is correct, and that the teaching makes sense!

Abuse or spam

Remove any inappropriate and abusive content from this answer, even if that leaves it empty. Socratic is a positive place to learn, there's no room for negativity and discouragement!

Check for plagiarism

This answer may have content copied from other sources. Answers on Socratic must be original content tailored towards the students asking this exact question. Please synthesize and paraphrase the content or simply provide a link to the source material.

Start with a one sentence answer
Then teach the underlying concepts
Don't copy without citing sources
preview
?

Answer

Write a one sentence answer...

Answer:

Explanation

Explain in detail...

Explanation:

Describe your changes (optional) 200

×
Improve this answer
Make this answer better. Any change, big or small, can make this answer more helpful to students!
45
Mar 12, 2015 Fix grammar, add examples, etc.

The valence electrons are the electrons in the outermost electron shell of an atom.

The number of electrons in an atom's outermost valence shell governs its bonding behaviour. That is why elements whose atoms have the same number of valence electrons are grouped together in the Periodic Table. Generally, elements in Groups 1, 2, and 13 to 17 tend to react to form a closed shell, corresponding to the electron configuration s²p⁶. This tendency is called the octet rule, because the bonded atoms have eight valence electrons.

METALS

The most reactive kind of metallic element is a metal from Group 1 (e.g., sodium or potassium). An atom in Group 1 has only a single valence electron. This one valence electron is easily lost to form a positive ion with an s²p⁶ configuration (e.g., Na⁺ or K⁺). A metal from Group 2 (e.g., magnesium) is somewhat less reactive, because each atom must lose two valence electrons to form a positive ion (e.g., Mg²⁺) with an s²p⁶ configuration.

Within each group of metals, reactivity increases as you go down the group. The valence electrons are less tightly bound and easier to remove, because they are farther away from the nucleus of the atom.

NONMETALS

A nonmetal tends to attract additional valence electrons to attain a full valence shell. Either it can share electrons with a neighboring atom to form a covalent bond) or it can remove electrons from another atom to form an ionic bond.

The most reactive kind of nonmetal is a halogen such as fluorine or chlorine. It has an s²p⁵ electron configuration, so it requires only one additional valence electron to form a closed shell.

To form an ionic bond, a halogen atom can remove an electron from another atom in order to form an anion (e.g., F⁻, Cl⁻, etc.).

To form a covalent bond, one electron from the halogen and one electron from another atom form a shared pair (e.g., in H–F, the dash represents a shared pair of valence electrons, one from H and one from F).

Within each Group of nonmetals, reactivity decreases from top to bottom, because the valence electrons are at progressively higher energies and the atoms do not gain much stability by gaining electrons. In fact, oxygen (the lightest element in Group 16) is more reactive than chlorine, even though it is not a halogen, because the valence electrons of oxygen are closer to the nucleus (at a lower energy).

Therefore, a metal from the bottom of Group 1 (like potassium) and a nonmetal from the top of Group 17 (like fluorine) will react violently, because they both benefit greatly from the reaction. K loses one electron to F and forms the ionic compound potassium fluoride, K⁺F⁻.

  • Show 16 more events
  • Ahmed E.
    Ahmed E. requested an answer.
    1 year ago ·
  • Someone from Birmingham, United States
    Someone from Birmingham, United States requested an answer.
    1 year ago ·
  • Ernest Z.
    Ernest Z. wrote an answer .
    1 year ago ·
  • Link Owl
    1 year ago ·
  • Someone from Brisbane, Australia
    Someone from Brisbane, Australia suggested this answer could be improved by double checking the answer
    1 year ago ·
  • sag
    sag thnx
    9 months ago ·
  • GameChanger100
    GameChanger100 New contributor! updated the answer . This is one of their first answers! Leave friendly feedback in the comments and welcome them to Socratic.
    5 months ago ·
  • GameChanger100
    GameChanger100 I changed the number of Protons to the new number or 51 instead of 50.5.
    5 months ago ·
  • GameChanger100
    GameChanger100 New contributor! updated the answer . This is one of their first answers! Leave friendly feedback in the comments and welcome them to Socratic.
    5 months ago ·
  • GameChanger100
    GameChanger100 I changed it
    5 months ago ·
  • Meave60
    Meave60 GameChanger100. You should investigate a contributor's credentials before you imply that an answer is incorrect. Ernest Z is a retired Chemistry professor with 33 years of teaching experience. If you found an error in his answer, you should have edited it by correcting the error.
    5 months ago ·
  • Meave60
    5 months ago ·
  • Meave60
    Meave60 Removed the offensive update by GameChanger100. GameChanger100: Socratic.org is not like other answer sites.
    5 months ago · Becca M. and Madie liked this.
  • Meave60
    Meave60 GameChanger100. There was nothing in this answer about 50.5 protons. Your update was a statement that answers on this site are unreliable. I believe you made up the reason for your update to make it look like there was a serious error. However, anyone can check your updates by clicking on update. I found no such edit in your update. This answer is about valence electrons and reactivity. There is nothing about protons. This answer is completely correct. I also taught Chemistry for many years.
    5 months ago ·
  • Meave60
    5 months ago ·
  • Meave60
    Meave60 Replaced the first sentence to this answer.
    5 months ago ·
500
Add an answer...
Add more explanation

Teaching the how or why of an answer is the magic that helps students answer future questions like this on their own. Add detail, anticipate tough spots, & walk through the problem step-by-step.

Fix formatting

Take this answer from great to epic by adding helpful formatting that makes it easy to read. White space, indents, headings, & equations formatting are all your friends!

Make answer simpler

The easier the answer is to understand, the better it is for learning—this isn't an encyclopedia! Define complex terms, reword confusing jargon, & remember that longer isn't always better.

Check for inaccuracy

Make sure the information in this answer is correct, and that the teaching makes sense!

Abuse or spam

Remove any inappropriate and abusive content from this answer, even if that leaves it empty. Socratic is a positive place to learn, there's no room for negativity and discouragement!

Check for plagiarism

This answer may have content copied from other sources. Answers on Socratic must be original content tailored towards the students asking this exact question. Please synthesize and paraphrase the content or simply provide a link to the source material.

Start with a one sentence answer
Then teach the underlying concepts
Don't copy without citing sources
preview
?

Answer

Write a one sentence answer...

Answer:

Explanation

Explain in detail...

Explanation:

Describe your changes (optional) 200

×
Improve this answer
Make this answer better. Any change, big or small, can make this answer more helpful to students!
1
Brit Edit answer
Feb 4, 2015 Fix grammar, add examples, etc.

The electrons on the outer shell determine the bonding behavior.

On the periodic table the group numbers give the charge of the atom.

Group 1, +1 group 2, +2 etc.

The intensity of reaction increases as you move down the group; group one is the most reactive. (This is for metals.)

500

New answers should provide a new explanation. Otherwise, edit an answer above.

Add an answer...
Add more explanation

Teaching the how or why of an answer is the magic that helps students answer future questions like this on their own. Add detail, anticipate tough spots, & walk through the problem step-by-step.

Fix formatting

Take this answer from great to epic by adding helpful formatting that makes it easy to read. White space, indents, headings, & equations formatting are all your friends!

Make answer simpler

The easier the answer is to understand, the better it is for learning—this isn't an encyclopedia! Define complex terms, reword confusing jargon, & remember that longer isn't always better.

Check for inaccuracy

Make sure the information in this answer is correct, and that the teaching makes sense!

Abuse or spam

Remove any inappropriate and abusive content from this answer, even if that leaves it empty. Socratic is a positive place to learn, there's no room for negativity and discouragement!

Check for plagiarism

This answer may have content copied from other sources. Answers on Socratic must be original content tailored towards the students asking this exact question. Please synthesize and paraphrase the content or simply provide a link to the source material.

Start with a one sentence answer
Then teach the underlying concepts
Don't copy without citing sources
preview
?

Answer

Write a one sentence answer...

Answer:

Explanation

Explain in detail...

Explanation:

Answer a question!
Math Science