How many unpaired electrons does an atom of sulfur have in its ground state?

Jul 2, 2016

$2$ electrons

Explanation:

Its configuration will be

$\text{S: } 1 {s}^{2} 2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{6} 3 {s}^{2} 3 {p}^{4}$

The p subshell can accommodate a maximum of $6$ electrons, but here it holds 4 electrons, which means that sulfur has $2$ unpaired electrons, both located in the p-subshell.

Sulfur will have a pair of electrons in the 1st $3 p$ orbital, 1 electron in the 2nd $3 p$ orbital, and 1 electron in the 3rd $3 p$ orbital.