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I know that electronegativity is the tendency an atom has to attract a bonding pair of electrons to itself but how do we find the electronegativity of an atom? Why is Fluorine higher than the other halogen elements? I am just a little confused on how the electronegativity trend works and why it decreases as you go down in periods.
Most of the time you will not be asked to calculate the electronegativity of a specific element, but to find the difference between the electronegativity of two elements in order to determine what type of bond they will create. Generally, the electronegativity will be high if the ionization energy and electron affinity are also high, and the electronegativity will be lower if the ionization energy and electron affinity are also low. So, electronegativity generally decreases as you move down a period and increases as you move across a group in the period table. So, fluorine has the highest electronegativity among the halogens because the shared electrons will be pulled closer to it.
When ionization energy and electron affinity are high, then the atom will also have a high electronegativity, and pull shared electrons toward it. This explains the periodic table trends, but we will not need to know actual values of electronegativity.
Electronegativity decreases as you go down a period because the atoms have more shells of electrons, so the valence electrons are farther from the nucleus. This means that the pull on the electrons is not as strong as in the atoms closer to the top of the period.
There is a trend that when ionization energy and electron affinity of an element are high, it will also have a high electronegativity. Because Fluorine has both a high e affinity and a high ionization energy, it has a high electronegativity.
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