What are the electronic configurations of non-metals and metals?

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hart379 | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Adjunct Educator

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Determining electron configuration is easy as long as you know the basic format.

The basic format is

1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p6 4s2 3d10 4p6

(note: 4p6 is not the highest electron configuration, but most beginning courses will not ask beyond this point)

-memorize the format

-determine number of electrons (same as the atomic number of the element)

-fill in starting from the BEGINNING and moving forward until the exponents add up to the atomic number of the element

-example: Li has atomic number of 3 (1s2, 2s1)

-example: S has atomic number of 16 (1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2, 3p4)

 

As a rule of thumb, all elements in group 1 (column 1) will have the outer electrons in the s1 orbital.  You can then use the row to determine the coefficient value.  For example, Hydrogen is in group 1 and row 1 so its electron configuation is 1s1.  Lithium is in group 1 row 2 so its outer shell will be 2s1

All group 2 elements will have electron configurations ending in s2

all group 3 through group 12 elements will have electron configurations ending in d1 through d10 respectively

all group 13 elements will end in p1, group 14 will end in p2, group 15 will end in p3 and so on until group 18 which will end in p6

SINCE NON-METALS ARE FOUND TO THE FAR RIGHT OF THE PERIODIC TABLE, THESE WILL HAVE ELECTRON CONFIGURATIONS ENDING IN THE P ORBITAL

SINCE THE MAJORITY OF THE ELEMENTS ARE METALS, THEIR ELECTRON CONFIGURATIONS HAVE MANY POSSIBILITIES BUT MAINLY END IN EITHER s1, s2, or 3d (1-10) orbitals

 

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