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Large distortion refers to the distortion of the electron cloud when an ionic compound is formed. The cation in the ionic compound pulls the anion's electrons closer to itself, distorting the electron cloud in the direction of the cation. That is why small cations have such high polarizing power.
The large distortion refers to the tendency of electrons in the anion to be pulled towards the cation, creating more covalent character to the bond. Small, highly charged cations like Al3+ have small enough ionic radii and great enough charge that they have high potential to create this distortion of the electron cloud- that is what high polarizing power refers to.
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