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HW Question 2.37

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:10 am
by Grace Ramey 2K
I am slightly confused by homework problem 37 in Chapter 2. The solutions manual says that (b) is one of the answers that is true. "(b)" is as follows:

"Electrons in an s-orbital are more effective than those in other orbitals at shielding other electrons from the nuclear charge because an electron in an s-orbital can penetrate to the nucleus of the atom"

I understand that electrons in s-orbitals shield other electrons from the nuclear charge because they are at often at lower energy levels and are therefore closer to the nucleus, but I was confused by the wording "penetrate to the nucleus of the atom". What does this mean? Can an electron literally penetrate the nucleus?

Thanks for the help!

Re: HW Question 2.37

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:24 am
by Yashaswi Dis 1K
I am not exactly sure but I think for an electron to penetrate a nucleus means the electron can be attracted to the positive force of the nucleus and in effect shields the outermost electrons. Hope this helps!

Re: HW Question 2.37

Posted: Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:49 pm
by Janine Chan 2K
I believe in this case "penetrate" just means how close the electron can get to the atom. So since it "penetrates" more, it is more attracted to the nucleus and therefore more effective at shielding other electrons than orbitals that are further out from the nucleus.