How does the position of an element on the Periodic Table reflect the oxidizing ability of that element?

1 Answer
Feb 6, 2017

Excluding the Noble Gases, elements become more oxidizing across the Periodic Table, from LEFT TO RIGHT as we face the Table.


We assess the ability of an atom to be reduced. Why? Because oxidation is the formal loss of electrons, which must be formally incorporated into another element or species.

Both dioxygen and difluorine gas are the most oxidizing species on the Periodic Table:

#1/2F_2 + e^(-) rarr F^-# #E^0=2.87V#

It is intuitively reasonable, that as atomic number, #Z#, increases, (and shielding by inner shell electrons is minimized) the element should become more oxidizing. Thus oxygen and fluorine gas are highly oxidizing.