Atoms of which types of elements tend to gain electrons? Atoms of which types of elements tend to lose electrons?

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mwmovr40 | College Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The Periodic Table is organized in such a way as to have elements with similar physical and chemical properties aligned in columns called Groups (or families).  One of the major factors that controls an element's chemical and physical properties is the number of valence electrons in its outermost shell and the Groups have elements which each have the same number of valence electrons.

The metals (the left 2/3 of the Chart) tend to form ionic compounds by losing electrons.  This is due to the fact that they have a low ionization energy, or a low electron affinity (both terms refer to the ease with which an atom can lose an electron).  When the metal loses an electron it becomes a positively charged cation.

Nonmetals (the right 1/3 of the Chart) when they form ionic compounds do so by gaining electrons.  This due to the fact that they have high ionization energies and high electron affinities (referring to their ability to collect electrons).  When they do form ions, they are of negative charge and are called anions.

For so called Representative Elements (Groups 1, 2, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, and 18) the number of electrons that can be lost (metals) or gained (nonmetals) is determined by the Group they are in.  Metals lose enough electrons to have the same number of electrons as the previous noble gas.  Nonmetals gain enough electrons to have enough electrons to have the same number as the next higher noble gas.

atyourservice's profile pic

atyourservice | Student, Grade 11 | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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Usually the metals (on the far left of the periodic table. ) lose electrons because of

their low ionization energy, while the nonmetals (on the far right of the periodic

table) gain electrons because they have a high ionization energy.

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ipin | Student | (Level 1) eNoter

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atom of element with higher electronegativity tend to gain electron. electronegativity is tendency to become negative ion by accepting electron.lower the group, the lower the electronegativity.element in group 15, 16 and 17 tend to gain electrons. therefore, element in group 1 and group 2 tend to lose electrons. the process of gaining and accepting in order to acheive nearest inert gas configuration.

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