Explain why noble gases do not form ions.

Asked on by al0987

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llltkl | College Teacher | (Level 3) Valedictorian

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According to the theories of bonding, ions are formed from elements while trying to attain the inert octet in the outermost shell like noble gases. For example, consider the formation of NaCl. Sodium atom has 11 electrons in total, distributed as 2, 8, 1 in K, L and M shells respectively. It releases the outermost single electron to form Na+, which now possesses 8 electrons in its outermost shell, thus stable. Chlorine atom, on the other hand has 17 electrons, distributed as 2, 8, 7 in the three shells K, L and M. It captures one electron to form an anion, Cl- and the outermost shell thus stabilizes itself through fulfillment of its octet.  Both these ions are then held together through electrostatic force of attraction to form the molecule of NaCl. In actual fact a huge array of alternate Na+ and Cl- ions pack together to produce crystal lattices of solid NaCl.

Noble gases, on the other hand have exactly 8 electrons in their outermost shell. Hence they should have no urge to destabilize themselves through intake or release of electron/s. This is the reason noble or inert gases do not form ions.

ayushkhanna's profile pic

ayushkhanna | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on


They already have their maximum number of valence electrons in the outter shells, so they are stable without having to react to gain/lose electrons.The outer electron shell is completely full,so there are no electrons to react with anything.
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nithya73 | Student, Grade 10 | (Level 2) eNoter

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Ions are charged species(atoms or molecules) whigh gain a +ve or -ve charge when they loose or gain an electron, respectively.

All the elements in the periodic table try to attain octet configuration(8 valance electrons in their outermost shell). Since all noble gases have already gianed octet configuration, they don't have the necessity to gain or loose electrons. So noble gases don't form ions.

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