Chemistry (NTSE/Olympiad)  

2. Elementary Idea of Bonding

Introduction About Bonds

We know that different elements have different atomic numbers and electronic configurations. The properties of atoms depend upon their electronic configurations. Some atoms are more reactive than others. Noble gas (He, Ne, Ar, Kr, Xe and Rn) atoms are not reactive at all; they are inert and stable. Then the question arises why noble gases do not react to form compounds, while other elements do so? This can be answered by comparing the electronic configurations of noble gases with those of other elements. Also, it is important to understand how and why atoms react to form molecules and compounds. Atoms gain electrons in their outermost shells or lose them from their outermost shells, or share electrons with other atoms in such a way that their outermost shells become filled to capacity. They can do this by reacting with other atoms. As long as the outermost shell can accommodate more electrons, i.e., it is not full, an atom tends to combine with other atoms in order to fill its outermost shell. When the outermost shell is filled to capacity, the atom becomes stable.
The atoms of all other elements (elements other than the noble gases) have in their outermost shells less than 8 electrons, i.e., their outermost shells are not filled to capacity. Therefore, the atoms of these elements combine with other atoms to achieve stable configurations like those of the noble gases. It is the tendency on the part of an atom to achieve a stable configuration (like that of the noble gases) which is responsible for its chemical reactivity.

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