# How does the electronic structure of the Noble Gases account for their lack of reactivity?

Mar 20, 2017

$\text{Got a Periodic Table.........?}$

#### Explanation:

If you are doing your Chemistry or Physics homework there should be a Table in front of you now (in addition to the table or desk that you write on!).

The RIGHTMOST column on the $\text{Periodic Table}$, i.e. on your right as you face the Table, is $\text{Group 18}$, which consists of the so-called $\text{Noble Gases}$. Because these elements, $\text{He, Ne, Ar, etc}$ were not known to undergo chemical reaction, they were dubbed the $\text{Noble Gases}$, i.e. a select, insular group that did not undergo reaction with more common elements.

This lack of reactivity, this inertness, can be traced to the electronic configuration of Group 18, which features a full valence shell. Because of this full valence shell, Noble Gases are $\text{(i)}$ difficult to oxidize (the nuclear charge tenaciously binds the valence electrons), and $\text{(ii)}$ difficult to reduce (electrons must enter a higher energy valence shell).

These days, we know that the Noble Gases do in fact form a few compounds with the more promiscuous oxidants, i.e. fluorine, and oxygen, and a Noble Gas chemistry has been developed.