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Name:  elizabeth
Status: student
Grade: 9-12
Country: N/A
Date: 9/12/2005

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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