Lowest Energy for Elements, Compounds, Etc

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Jasmine 2C
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Lowest Energy for Elements, Compounds, Etc

Postby Jasmine 2C » Thu Oct 24, 2019 2:24 am

Sorry if this is a dumb question but why do we want the electron configuration to show the lowest energy again? Like why have the valence electrons in calcium be in the 4s state and not the 3d state?
The same goes for chemical bonding. Why do we want to achieve the lowest energy (whether it is by ionic bonding or covalent bonding, etc)?

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Re: Lowest Energy for Elements, Compounds, Etc

Postby TheresaDsilva4A » Thu Oct 24, 2019 7:40 am

Based on physical laws, it is typically more energetically favorable for compounds formed through covalent/ionic bonding to have a lower energy state than the elements that make them up. Since ionic/covalent compounds have a lower energy state than their constituents, they are often much more stable (e.g. Na+ and Cl- ions will combine to form NaCl instead of remaining isolated from one another.) Similarly, when writing electron configurations, electrons first fill subshells of lower energy because it is more energetically favorable/stable. I hope that helps :)

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Re: Lowest Energy for Elements, Compounds, Etc

Postby KDang_1D » Thu Oct 24, 2019 3:38 pm

Hmm I'm not sure if our class has a detailed answered to why electrons, atoms, etc. tend towards energetically favorable states yet, but on a rudimentary level, think of people standing on a staircase. Unless there were people taking up all the space on the bottom, you wouldn't want to expend any extra energy walking up to the top of the stairs. So an electron wouldn't need to be buzzing around any 4d orbitals when it could be sitting close to home in the 1s. This is, of course, vastly over-simplified. For now, just remember that this lowest-energy concept is true and called the Aufbau Principle when relating to electron configuration

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