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Chemistry LibreTexts

5: Electron Configurations

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    • 5.1: Electron Configurations- How Electrons Occupy Orbitals
      The relative energy of the subshells determine the order in which atomic orbitals are filled. Electron configurations and orbital diagrams can be determined by applying the Pauli exclusion principle (no two electrons can have the same set of four quantum numbers) and Hund’s rule (whenever possible, electrons retain unpaired spins in degenerate orbitals). Electrons in the outermost orbitals, called valence electrons, are responsible for most of the chemical behavior of elements.
    • 5.2: Electron Configurations, Valence Electrons, and the Periodic Table
      Electron configurations allow us to understand many periodic trends. Covalent radius increases as we move down a group because the n level (orbital size) increases. Covalent radius mostly decreases as we move left to right across a period because the effective nuclear charge experienced by the electrons increases, and the electrons are pulled in tighter to the nucleus. Anionic radii are larger than the parent atom, while cationic radii are smaller.

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