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A cation has high polarizing power because they can exert a strong pull on the anions electrons. The smaller the radius, the closer the distance between the two ions, and the stronger the distortion of the electrons towards the cation. The trend in the periodic table is that it increases from left to right on a period and decreases down a group.
Polarizing power is the power of a cation to distort the shape of an anion by pulling its electrons over. In general, the smaller the ion, the more polarizing power it will have. This means that ions that are towards the top left side of the periodic table and with a greater charge will have a greater polarizing power.
The smaller the ionic radius of the cation, the greater its ability to distort the electrons of the pairing anion. So if it is between Na+ and Mg2+, Mg2+ will have a greater polarizing power because it is holding its remaining electrons super close, and is smaller as a result.
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