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Thread: Octet Rule. Easist or hardest route or both?

  1. #1 Octet Rule. Easist or hardest route or both? 
    Forum Freshman LotusTiger's Avatar
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    Does an atom take the hardest or easiest route to acheive the octet rule. That is do they always gain or lose electrons based on what takes less sacrifice or adding of electons comparitivly. And Why? And if both way's are possible. What makes the atom go one way over another?


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    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Some elements will actually form both cations and anions, such as hydrogen.

    However, to the original question:

    there are basically 3 reasons why they form cations or anions:

    -atomic radius
    -nuclear charge
    -extent of shielding by electron shells

    Metals have a small nuclear charge, and relatively large atomic radius as a result (electrons are not so strongly attracted to the nucleus).

    So, for example lithium:

    +3 nuclear charge, 2 electrons between outer shell and nucleus. Also, the outer-shell electron is fairly far away from the nucleus.

    Fluorine, meanwhile:

    +9 nuclear charge, 2 electrons between outer shell and nucleus, smaller atomic radius.

    So, the electrons in the outer shell of the fluorine are less inclined to leave the atom, due to the larger charge, but the same amount of shielding. This is also what causes the smaller atomic radius.

    Make sense?

    If not don't hesitate to say so; I'm terrible at explaining.


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    Forum Freshman LotusTiger's Avatar
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    Well to be honest your using a lot of words I dont understand yet. I'v only been reading Junior certificate Science which is the very three first years of science in Ireland where I come from. But dont worry I'm going to be going through the leaving certificate science (next) very soon and quickly ( I'm outside the school system)so I'll be able to keep up with all your complecities drowsy turtle
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  5. #4  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    cation = positively charged ion
    anion = negatively charged ion
    nuclear charge = the total charge of the protons in the nucleus of an atom
    nuclear radius = size of the atom; distance from the centre to the outside fo the outermost shell of electrons
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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  6. #5  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LotusTiger
    Well to be honest your using a lot of words I dont understand yet. I'v only been reading Junior certificate Science which is the very three first years of science in Ireland where I come from. But dont worry I'm going to be going through the leaving certificate science (next) very soon and quickly ( I'm outside the school system)so I'll be able to keep up with all your complecities drowsy turtle
    I'm doing AS levels (in a couple of weeks, actually) in England, within the school system. I estimate you're at about the equivelant of year 10 by the system here, for chemistry at least.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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    Forum Freshman LotusTiger's Avatar
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    Thanks dowsy turtle. I found out alot from you there about atoms.
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  8. #7  
    Forum Freshman LotusTiger's Avatar
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    Though one question you say nucleur raidius is from the centre to one of the outermost side. Not the distance of the whole atom. Which is true? And two can the atom sides vary in lenght. I take it from this question that the whole size is the right awnser as what use would nucleur radius be if both sides were of unequal lenght.
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  9. #8  
    Reptile Dysfunction drowsy turtle's Avatar
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    From a 2-dimensional view of an atom, the radius is like that of any other circle.
    "The major difference between a thing that might go wrong and a thing that cannot possibly go wrong is that when a thing that cannot possibly go wrong goes wrong it usually turns out to be impossible to get at or repair." ~ Douglas Adams
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