A Simple Valence Problem for a Beginning Chemistry Enthusiast

Chemistry, Education
It is not unusual for school systems to introduce students to chemistry by means of the Periodic Table of the Elements. The table is then broken down into sections: the metals, the non-metals, and the gases. Before long, the structure of the atom is discussed, including protons, neutrons, electrons, orbitals, shells, and valence. It is the last of these we will briefly discuss here – valence. First a very brief discussion, followed by examples, followed by a puzzling problem (to impart insight). Valence: A Simple Discussion Atoms, although containing positive protons and negative electrons, have a net charge of zero. They are electrically neutral. This means each lone atom has a number of electrons equal to its number of protons. For instance, a sodium atom¹ has 11 protons. It also…
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The Two Processes Called Electron Capture

[caption id="attachment_6340" align="alignright" width="440"] The Physics Process[/caption] There is not one, but two processes, called electron or e- capture. Atoms can be visualized as two parts. The central nucleus, an inner core of protons plus neutrons, and an external shell of electrons traveling in their various orbitals. Ordinary chemical processes involve the making or breaking of bonds between two or more atoms. These bonds involve the electrons and the openings that hold them. The physics process of e- capture is the penetration by an inner shell electron into the nucleus of a neutron rich atom. Absorption by one of the protons replaces it with a neutron. At the same time, a neutrino and an X-ray photon are emitted. What Defines an Element? Element identity is determined by the proton count…
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