Why does an extra proton here or there make such a difference in the properties of an element?

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Elements like sulfur and chlorine or gold and mercury seem really different in their chemical properties but are right next to each other on the periodic table.

In: Chemistry

4 Answers

Anonymous 0 Comments

From what I remember from high school, it’s not the nucleus but the outer electron shells which define chemical properties.

Chemical bonding capabilities are depending on the willingness to accept a shared electron or the ability to lent a shared electron, in salts like Na+ and Cl-. The breaking of chemical bonds, like creating H2 and O2 from water, are also happening in the electron shells.

The more to the right of the period table, the fuller the outer electron shells and the harder to make it react with something.

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