Why is oxygen electronegative?
Anywhere we go, we breathe oxygen. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ It is the reason why there is life on earth. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ It is an essential element in organic and inorganic compounds, gaseous molecule, and even in water. If we try to examine what makes up oxygen, we will understand better its properties and why it is considered as an extraordinary element.
Oxygen is symbolized by letter O with an atomic number 8. It is a colorless, tasteless, and odorless gas. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ In the periodic table, it belongs in the chalcogen group which means it is highly reactive and can easily form a compound.
If we try to examine closely the periodic table, oxygen is located at the upper right. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The placement of elements in the periodic table has something to do with its electronegativity. As you move from left to right, electronegativity increases. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ This means that oxygen is one of the most electronegative elements because it is situated on the right part of the periodic table. Next to fluorine which has 4. 0 electronegativity, oxygen has 3.44.
But what is electronegativity and why is oxygen considered electronegative? Electronegativity is defined as the ability of a certain atom to pull electrons towards itself. Its nucleus has the capacity to attract and keep electrons. Oxygen, considering its being an electron acceptor, has the ability to attract electrons more than any other elements.
What makes oxygen electronegative is its valence shell. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ Oxygen has 6 valence electrons so it can still attract 2 more electrons to fill the valence shell. If a certain element has empty valence shell, then its electronegativity lowers. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The more electrons gained, the more reactive an element is. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ This is what happens to oxygen.
Oxygen does not only contain 8 electrons but also 8 protons. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ The protons are also responsible in pulling electrons to the nucleus. Ãƒ’šÃ‚ Due to the 8 protons the oxygen has, more electrons are pulled making oxygen electronegative.