Electron Structure and Chemical Behavior
how is the chemical behavior of an atom determined by its
electron configuration? Why do atoms form bonds?
This is a question that is normally answered throughout a whole semester's
course of chemistry - any answer I give will be incomplete at best.
However, here are some ideas that should get you on your way.
Electronic configuration: (1) Remember that the electronic configuration
is simply a communication tool, it is supposed to remind you of the
quantum numbers (Schrodinger Model of an atom) and trends in the atomic
properties as found in the periodic table - it does not determine the
chemical properties of atoms per se, and (2) think of the number and
quantum energies of the valence electrons of atoms when trying to
determine its chemical properties - they normally determine the
distinguishing characteristics between atoms - writing the electronic
configuration of an atom will help you determine the valence electrons.
As to why atoms form bonds, the quickest answer is that in going from
atomic to molecular forms there is an over-all lowering of the energy of
the system (energy is released into the environment). It turns out that
nature tends to go to lower energies (more stable forms). So bond
formation is spontaneous because of a lowering of energies.
Greg (Roberto Gregorius)
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Update: June 2012