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Valence electrons and ionic compounds

When forming ions, elements typically gain or lose the minimum number of electrons necessary to achieve a full octet. For example, fluorine has seven valence electrons, so it is most likely to gain one electron to form an ion with a 1- charge. We can use this method to predict the charges of ions in ionic compounds. Created by Sal Khan.

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  • blobby green style avatar for user Abi Faith
    Is it possible for hydrogen to have 0 electrons? And am I correct in thinking that in a covalent bond, the two atoms share a valence electron, hence COvalent?
    (15 votes)
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    • blobby green style avatar for user Mirantibus
      Hydrogen can exist without proton if it is in its ionised form - i.e. as H+. H+ is just a proton, so no electrons would be present. In covalent bonding, the electrons that form the covalent bond do not have to come from each atom. There are instances when an atom donates both electrons to form the covalent bond. A good example of this is when :NH3 reacts with H+. The : represent the lone pair on the nitrogen in :NH3. The nitrogen in :NH3 donates BOTH electrons to form a covalent bond and the resulting compound is NH4+. This type of covalent bond is called a dative or coordinate covalent bond.
      (24 votes)
  • spunky sam blue style avatar for user asdf
    if an atom has 4 electrons in the outermost shell, will it need to gain 4 electrons or lose 4 electrons to achieve an octet?
    (6 votes)
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    • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user adam.ghatta
      Good question. Atoms like these can actually choose either or even stay neutral. One interesting thing about these types of subshells, is that they are actually somewhat stable. Because of the relative stability, these atoms often form covalent bonds rather than ionic bonds that need a charge.

      One example is Carbon. It has 4 valence electrons, so it can make a 4+ or a 4- charge. But because of its relatively stable half filled orbital, most of the time it takes part in covalent bonding like in organic molecules.
      On occasion, Carbon can ionize, most commonly 4+.
      (12 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Rachit Gupta
    What are ions and ionic compounds?
    (5 votes)
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    • aqualine ultimate style avatar for user khaja.1
      Ions are atoms/molecules with a non-neutral net charge because it gave or took an electron.
      Ionic compounds are elements bonded together through electron-giving.
      In other words, ionic compounds are ions bonded together in order for the elements to have a full octet.
      (11 votes)
  • leaf red style avatar for user Fire Wolf
    Why is 8 the magic number for valence electrons?
    (6 votes)
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    • leaf red style avatar for user Richard
      Only a certain number of elements follow the octet rule strictly for their valance electrons. Eight valance electrons is only the goal for second and third period elements (though to a lesser extent for them). Other elements like the transition metals have a different ideal number of valence electrons they wish to attain for example. But for the second and third period elements the octet rule is a result of their desire to fill their s and p subshells with electrons like the noble gases in their periods (neon and argon). And other elements want this noble gas electron configuration because there is increased stability associated with it which matter tends toward.

      Hope that helps.
      (8 votes)
  • duskpin ultimate style avatar for user Tianyue Ma
    How do elements give away or take electrons?
    (4 votes)
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    • primosaur ultimate style avatar for user William Crye
      Atoms give away or take electrons to achieve a stable configuration, usually by filling their outermost energy level. Atoms with fewer electrons than a stable configuration tend to give away electrons, while atoms with more electrons tend to take electrons. This exchange occurs through chemical reactions, where atoms form bonds with other atoms. For example, in ionic bonding, one atom gives away electrons to another atom, forming positively and negatively charged ions that are attracted to each other, creating a bond. In covalent bonding, atoms share electrons to achieve stability. Overall, atoms give away or take electrons to reach a more stable and energetically favorable state.-hope this helps! @Tianyue Ma
      (10 votes)
  • blobby green style avatar for user 835660
    Wait why in previous videos "X" ^ -1 was never used and only shown as "X" ^ - but in this one he used the first one?
    (5 votes)
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  • male robot hal style avatar for user Pradhyot Upadhyay 55
    Is there a similarity between valency and valence electrons?
    (5 votes)
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  • starky ultimate style avatar for user MagicMoney
    It says in the video that lithium and chlorine like to react with each other. Given Li+1 and a Cl-1 however, wouldn't they not react with each other? Li+1 loses its only valence electron, so it's a lot more stable. Cl-1 has gained its electron to form a full octet, so now it's stable. So would Li+1 and Cl-1 not react with each other?

    Also, why do elements react with each other to form molecules? By that I mean, why doesn't the atom just take the electrons and leave? For example, chlorine and lithium again. Why doesn't chlorine just take lithium's valence electron and go away from it? Why does it stick with lithium when all it wants is the electron?
    (4 votes)
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    • leaf blue style avatar for user Christopher
      For your first question, Yes Lithium and Chlorine would love to react, in fact, the only thing that would like to react with Lithium more is Florine, which also has 7 VE like chlorine. For your second question, When the two react, Lithium has a +1 charge, and chlorine has a -1 charge. Opposite charges attract, so the two stick together.
      Hope this helps
      (6 votes)
  • duskpin seed style avatar for user saul1296
    Why is the symbol for Tungsten W?
    (2 votes)
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    • leaf red style avatar for user Richard
      So historically, the element tungsten has been referred to by two names primarily; tungsten and wolfram.

      For tungsten, in 1781, Swedish chemist Carl Wilhelm Scheele suggested that a new metal element could be isolated from the mineral Scheelite. Scheelite is a tungsten containing mineral with the chemical formula CaWO4. During Scheele’s time, the mineral Scheelite was named tungsten which means literally means “heavy stone” in Swedish owing to its high density. Chemists actually renamed the mineral in the 19th century to Scheelite in Scheele’s honor. Tungsten as a name for the element is most popular among English and French speakers.

      For wolfram, in 1783, Spanish chemists and brothers Juan José Elhuyar and Fausto Elhuyar were the first to actually isolate the element, which they did from the mineral wolframite. Wolframite is also a tungsten containing mineral with the chemical formula (Fe,Mn)WO4. Wolframite as a name means “wolf cream” given to it by Johan Gottschalk Wallerius in 1747. Wolframite itself is derived from the Latin name lupi spuma given by Georg Agricola 1546 which means “wolf’s froth”. The interesting name is due to wolframite’s ability to soak up tin during tin refining, as if wolframite was eating up the tin like a wolf would consume sheep. Wolfram as a name for the element is most popular among German and Spanish speakers. In fact, even though the official name of the element is tungsten, most German chemists would recognize it as wolfram.

      As far as coming up with the name and the symbol, the IUPAC decided to split the difference and name the element officially as tungsten, appeasing the English speaking chemists, but give the element the chemical symbol W, to appease the German and Spanish speaking chemists.

      Hope that helps.
      (7 votes)
  • piceratops ultimate style avatar for user Robert Ranghiuc
    What would it be the situation with the elements with four valence electrons. I mean that they are at the same distance between 0 and 8 (having a full outer shell). So, are they more inclined to give away or to receive electrons?
    (3 votes)
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Video transcript

- [Instructor] In this video, we're gonna gain even more appreciation for why the periodic table of elements is so useful. And in particular, we're going to focus on groups of the periodic table of elements. When we talk about a group, we're just talking about a column. And as we'll see, even though the elements in a given column might have very different atomic numbers, they all have similar properties. And the reason why they all have similar properties is, in most cases, they have the same number of valence electrons. Remember, valence electrons are the reactive electrons, the ones that might interact with other things. And because elements with similar valence electrons will have similar reactivities, they will form similar ions. Similar ions. And they will have similar roles. Similar roles in ionic compounds. Ionic compounds. Now, for the sake of this video, I'm gonna focus most on the extremes of the periodic table, the groups at the left and the right, because those are the closest to having a full outer shell, either by losing electrons or by gaining electrons. So just to remind ourselves, what does it mean to have a full, full outer shell? Well, in general, people will refer to the octet rule. For our second, third, fourth, fifth, and on and on shells, you're full when you have eight electrons. Eight electrons. The major exception to the octet rule is the first shell, where it is full with two electrons. So helium, even though it only has two electrons, is very, very, very stable. And the major data point that we have around this octet rule are the group 18 elements right over here, also known as the noble gasses. They're known as the noble gasses because they're very unreactive, they're very content, they don't wanna mess around with anyone else. And that's because all of the noble gasses have full outer shells. Helium's outer shell is the first shell and it's full. Neon's outer shell's the second shell, it's full. Argon's outer shell is the third shell and it's full, and so on and so forth. Now, if we go one group to the left of the noble gasses, we get to the halogens. Now, the halogens have seven valence electrons. So you can imagine, they're only one electron away from having an electron configuration like the noble gas to the right of each of them. So these halogens right over here, these really like to attract electrons to form a negative ion or an anion. So you'll oftentimes see fluorine as a fluoride anion, so it has a negative one charge. Or you'll also see chlorine with a negative one charge as the chloride anion. And I could go on and on. You'll often see iodine gain an electron and have a negative one charge. If you go one step to the left, the oxygen group, oxygen, sulfur, and on and on, these elements have six valence electrons. So it's still easier for them to have a full outer shell by gaining two electrons than by losing six electrons. So these elements also like to attract electrons. So you can see oxygen as an oxide anion. It has gained two electrons, it's swiped it from somebody else. Sulfur as a sulfide anion. Now, if you go to the other extreme of the periodic table, if you look at group one elements, they have one valence electron. And especially the ones that you look, and you see in red here, which are known as the alkali metals, it's much easier for them to lose an electron to have a full outer shell than for them to gain seven electrons. The reason why hydrogen's a bit of an exception is it doesn't have to gain seven electrons to have a full outer shell, it has to gain one. So hydrogen could lose one, and essentially have no electrons, or it could gain one electron and it would have a full outer shell like helium. But when we think about ionic compounds, these alkali metals are really some of the most interesting participants. Because as you can imagine, for them to get stable, they wanna give away an electron. So you're very likely to see them having given away an electron and having a positive one charge. So you'll oftentimes see a lithium ion with a positive one charge, a sodium ion with a positive one charge, a potassium ion with a positive one charge. And that's, in general, true of all of these group one elements. Now, what about these group two elements, also known as the alkaline earth metals? Well, once again, it's easier for them to lose two electrons than for them to gain six and have a full outer shell. So, you'll typically see beryllium having a positive two charge. It would have lost those two electrons. Magnesium as having a positive two charge. Calcium as having a positive two charge. Now, given that, how would you expect things on the left and things on the right to form ionic compounds? So you might guess, if you have an alkali metal in the presence of a halogen, things could get very reactive. In fact, things will get very reactive because these wanna give away electron, these wanna take electron. And that's what will happen. The electrons will leave the group one elements and then they will go to the halogen. And in the process it might release a lot of energy, but what you'd be left with is an ionic compound. For example, lithium loses a electron and has a positive one charge. That positive ion would be very attracted to a chlorine anion that has just gained an electron. Maybe it's the same electron, or it swiped that electron from another lithium atom. And so these two things would be attracted and they could form lithium chloride. And all of these alkali metals could play that same role in this ionic compound as lithium. So it's also typical to see sodium chloride. That is table salt. It's also typical to see potassium chloride. So on and so forth. And on the other hand, fluorine or bromine or iodine can play a similar role as chlorine. So you could see something like sodium iodide or potassium iodide. Once again, the alkali metal would have lost an electron, the halogen would have gained an electron, and then they're attracted to each other in forming these ionic compounds. What kind of ionic compounds might be formed with these group two elements? Let's take calcium, for example. It's not unreasonable for calcium to lose two electrons to have a stable outer shell, to have an electron configuration like argon. So if it loses two electrons it has a positive two charge. And you could imagine, those two electrons get lost to two different iodine atoms. So each of them have a negative one charge, so times two, and then what type of ionic compound could they form? Well, you could have one calcium and then two iodines. So calcium iodide is actually an ionic compound you would see. It has a neutral charge overall because calcium has a positive two charge and each of the iodines have a negative one charge, but then you have two of them, so it is neutral overall. What might calcium do with oxygen? Well, calcium likes to lose two electrons, oxygen likes to gain two electrons, so you could see something like calcium oxide. So I will leave you there. The big picture here is, the column in which an element is tells you a lot about its reactivity because it tells you in general how many valence electrons it has. And atoms are most stable when they have a full outer shell and so that helps you predict, hey, is it easier for them to lose electrons and form a positive ion or gain electrons and form a negative ion? And then from that, you could make predictions as to the types of ionic compounds that could be formed with the different elements.