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


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

An extra proton changes two things: the amount of electrons and the space they occupy. Simply put, when you add a proton you must add an electron to match. This electron can’t be where any other electrons already are. When other atoms are around a given element the electrons of the two atoms talk. Where the electrons are ultimately dictates how they talk. That is to say, electron distribution determines bonding strength and angles, which determine chemical properties. Remember, chemical properties are electrical properties.

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