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Patterns in the Electronic Configurations of the Elements

Describe the patterns in the electronic configurations of the elements.

Each row across the periodic table is called a period and the elements gradually change properties from left to right. Can you explain this in terms of the electronic configurations?

Each column of the periodic table is called a family. Elements in the same family have similar properties. Are there any similarities in the electronic configuration within a family (column)?

Would you expect the size of the atoms to increase, decrease, or stay the same from the top of the column (family) to the bottom of the same column (same family)? Explain.

Solution Preview

The first period starts with hydrogen (H) and ends with helium (He). It has just two elements H (Z=1) and He (Z = 2). H has one electron in the K-shell. He has 2 electrons in the K-shell. The K-shell can hold only 2 electrons. Thus the first period is complete. The second period starts with Li (Z=3), where the K-shell is filled and the next shell, the L-shell is starting to fill. After Li the next element is beryllium (Be, Z=4). Its K-shell is complete and it has 2 electrons in the L-shell. The maximum number of electrons held in the L-shell is 8. So the period has 8 elements, in which each element's L-shell is getting filled. The last element in ...

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