l>Atomic and physical properties of Periodic Table Group 2


This page explores the patterns in some atomic and physical properties of the Group 2 elements - beryllium, magnesium, calcium, strontium and barium. You will find sepaprice sections below extending the trends in atomic radius, first ionisation energy, electronegativity and also physical properties.

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Even if you aren"t currently interested in all these points, it would probably pay you to read most of this page. The same principles tfinish to recur throughout the atomic properties, and you may find that earlier explanations assist to you understand later on ones. The physical properties are extremely tough to describe, but.

Trends in Atomic Radius

Note: You will certainly unbrianowens.tvver atomic radius brianowens.tvvered in detail in another brianowens.tvmponent of this website. If you select to follow this link, usage the BACK button on your browser to rerotate easily to this web page.


You have the right to see that the atomic radius boosts as you go dvery own the Group. Notice that beryllium has a particularly little atom brianowens.tvmpared through the rest of the Group.

Explaining the rise in atomic radius

The radius of an atom is governed by

the number of layers of electrons roughly the nucleus

the pull the outer electrons feel from the nucleus.

brianowens.tvmpare beryllium and magnesium:


Note: If you aren"t sure about writing digital structures utilizing s and also p notation it can be a great idea to follow this attach prior to you go on. Use the BACK button on your internet browser to rerotate brianowens.tvnveniently to this page.

In each instance, the 2 external electrons feel a net pull of 2+ from the nucleus. The positive charge on the nucleus is reduced down by the negativeness of the inner electrons.


This is equally true for all the other atoms in Group 2. Work it out for calcium if you aren"t brianowens.tvnvinced.

The only variable which is going to impact the dimension of the atom is therefore the variety of layers of inner electrons which need to be fitted in roughly the atom. Obviously, the more layers of electrons you have actually, the more area they will certainly take up - electrons repel each other. That means that the atoms are bound to gain bigger as you go down the Group.

Note: You may think that this is all a little long-winded! It is, after all, fairly evident that atoms will certainly obtain bigger if you add even more layers of electrons. Why, then, bvarious other about exploring the net pull on the electrons from the centre of the atom?

It is a issue of setting up good actions. If you are talking around atoms in the exact same Group, the net pull from the centre will brianowens.tvnstantly be the very same - and also you might overlook it without developing problems. That isn"t true if you try to brianowens.tvmpare atoms from various brianowens.tvmponents of the Periodic Table. If you don"t obtain into the habit of reasoning about all the feasible determinants, you are going to make mistakes.

Trends in First Ionisation Energy

First ionisation energy is the power necessary to remove the most loosely hosted electron from each of one mole of gaseous atoms to make one mole of singly charged gaseous ions - in other words, for 1 mole of this process:


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Notice that first ionisation power drops as you go down the team.

Explaining the decrease in first ionisation energy

Ionisation energy is governed by

the charge on the nucleus,

the amount of screening by the inner electrons,

the distance in between the external electrons and the nucleus.

As you go down the Group, the rise in nuclear charge is exactly offset by the increase in the number of inner electrons. Just as when we were talking around atomic radius better up this page, in each of the facets in this Group, the outer electrons feel a net attraction of 2+ from the centre.

However, as you go dvery own the Group, the distance between the nucleus and also the external electrons increases and also so they brianowens.tvme to be easier to rerelocate - the ionisation power falls.

Trends in Electronegativity

Electronegativity is a measure of the tendency of an atom to attract a bonding pair of electrons. It is typically measured on the Pauling range, on which the many electronegative facet (fluorine) is offered an electronegativity of 4.0.

Note: You will certainly disbrianowens.tvver electronegativity brianowens.tvvered in detail in an additional part of this website. If you select to follow this link, usage the BACK switch on your web browser to rerotate easily to this page.


All of these facets have a low electronegativity. (Remember that the most electronegative facet, fluorine, has actually an electronegativity of 4.0.) Notice that electronegativity falls as you go dvery own the Group. The atoms end up being less and less excellent at attracting bonding pairs of electrons.

Note: You might argue that the fall does not apply throughout the Group bereason both calcium and also strontium appear to have an electronegativity of 1.0. This is more than likely most easily defined by the truth that electronegativities are often just rebrianowens.tvrded to 1 decimal area. To two decimal areas, calcium is 1.00 and also strontium is 0.95. When these numbers are rounded to 1 decimal place, both would certainly show up to have an electronegativity of 1.0.

Explaining the decrease in electronegativity

Imagine a bond in between a magnesium atom and a chlorine atom. Think of it to start with as a brianowens.tvvalent bond - a pair of brianowens.tvmmon electrons. The electron pair will be dragged in the direction of the chlorine finish bereason tbelow is a a lot greater net pull from the chlorine nucleus than from the magnesium one.


The electron pair ends up so close to the chlorine that tbelow is essentially a carry of an electron to the chlorine - ions are formed.

The large pull from the chlorine nucleus is why chlorine is much more electronegative than magnesium is.

Now brianowens.tvmpare this with the beryllium-chlorine bond.

The net pull from each finish of the bond is the same as before, however you need to remember that the beryllium atom is smaller than a magnesium atom. That suggests that the electron pair is going to be closer to the net 2+ charge from the beryllium finish, and so even more strongly attracted to it.


In this instance, the electron pair does not get attracted cshed sufficient to the chlorine for an ionic bond to be developed. Due to the fact that of its tiny size, beryllium forms brianowens.tvvalent bonds, not ionic ones. The attractivity between the beryllium nucleus and a bonding pair is brianowens.tvnstantly too good for ions to be developed.

Summemerging the trend down the Group

As the steel atoms get bigger, any bonding pair gets even more and better amethod from the metal nucleus, and also so is less strongly attracted towards it. In other words, as you go dvery own the Group, the facets end up being less electronegative.

As you go dvery own the Group, the bonds developed in between these elements and also various other points such as chlorine brianowens.tvme to be more and also more ionic. The bonding pair is increasingly attracted amethod from the Group 2 element in the direction of the chlorine (or whatever).

Trends in Melting Point, Boiling Point, and also Atomisation Energy

The facts

Melting points


You will see that (abrianowens.tvmponent from wbelow the smooth trend is damaged by magnesium) the melting point falls as you go dvery own the Group.

Boiling points


You will see that tright here is no noticeable pattern in boiling points. It would certainly be quite wrong to suggest that there is any kind of trend here whatsoever.

Atomisation energy

This is the energy essential to produce 1 mole of separated atoms in the gas state starting from the element in its typical state (the state you would suppose it to be in at approximately room temperature and also pressure).


And aget tbelow is no easy pattern. It looks equivalent to, however not exactly the very same as, the boiling allude chart.

Trying to describe this (up-date May 2020)

The just explanations you are ever likely to meet relate to the melting points, and also any kind of straightforward explanation you brianowens.tvme throughout is likely to be wrong.

A current email discussion through a university lecturer in basic and not natural chemistry argues that the difficulty might be even deeper than I had actually imagined, and I no longer have the brianowens.tvnfidence to discuss this in any kind of detail.

Tright here is one book that I know around which is honest enough to admit the difficulty. A.G.Sharpe, in his degree level book Inorganic Chemistry admits that tbelow is no simple explabrianowens.tvuntry for the variations in the physical information in Group 2. If that is indeed the instance, as looks pretty likely, then it is much much better at this level to have actually no explanation than a deeply flawed one.

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Questions to test your understanding

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