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Group 13: The Boron Family

The boron family contains elements in group 13 of the periodic talbe and include the semi-metal boron (B) and the metals aluminum (Al), gallium (Ga), indium (In), and thallium (Tl). Aluminum, gallium, indium, and thallium have three electrons in their outermost shell (a full s orbital and one electron in the p orbital) with the valence electron configuration ns2np1. The elments of the boron family adopts oxidation states +3 or +1. The +3 oxidation states are favorable except for the heavier elements, such as Tl, which prefer the +1 oxidation state due to its stability; this is known as the inert pair effect. The elements generally follow periodic trends except for certain Tl deviations:

Thumbnail: Crystals of 99.999% gallium. Image used with permission (CC-SA-BY 3.0; Foobar)