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March 28, 2017

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Explain the discontinuity in the trend for the first ionization energies between Mg and Al, also P and S.

  • Chemistry-inorganic - ,

    The electron configuration for Mg is
    Mg = 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2
    Al = 2s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 2p1
    The discontinuity arises because the add electron for Al goes into a different orbital (higher energy in this case). You can draw the same kind of thing and observe the same thing for S vs P where the added electron for S must be paired vs P in which all three electrons in the p orbital are unpaired.

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