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What’s the difference between polarizability and polarizing power? And how exactly can you tell who unions have higher polarizing power?
Polarizability is the ability of an atom to have a distorted electron cloud. These are usually anions, and the larger they are the more likely it is for their electrons to be on one side at a moment in time. Polarizing power is the ability of an atom to induce this dipole moment and distort the electron cloud. These are usually cations, and the smaller the cation and the higher the charge the more polarizing power they have.
Cations have polarizing power because their positive charge distorts the electron cloud of the anion. Likewise, anions have polarizability because their electron cloud can be distorted by positively charged cations. The greater the charge on the cation (Al3+ is a good example), the higher its polarizing power.
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