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Thread: Copper....

  1. #1 Copper.... 
    Forum Freshman
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    Is this the correct electron configuration of copper:
    1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 4s1, 3d10 OR 1s2, 2s2, 2p6, 3s2, 3p6, 3d10, 4s1?

    I always thought it was the first but now Im being convinced that it is the other way.

    Also is it the fact that copper fills 3d sub level using an electron from the 4s sub level that makes its valency variable?


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  3. #2  
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    It actually depends on how many electrons there are. The d shell gets lower in energy as you add more electrons to it. Once you get to 8 electron in Cu, you reach the tipping point where adding one more electron will push the entire d shell lower in energy than the 4s shell. So if you have a Cu+9 cation and add electrons to it, the first two that you add will go into the 4s orbitals. If you keep adding electrons they will go into the d orbitals, and the energy of the d shell will get lower as you continue to add them. When you add the last electron, you will push the 3d orbitals lower than the 4s, and so one of the 4s orbitals will drop into the now-lower-in-energy 3d orbital.

    But if you have a Cu+9 cation and only have 6 electrons to add, you will end up with Cu3+ that will be 4s2 3d6. Hope that makes sense.


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  4. #3  
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    Thanks for your help and that does make sense!!
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