How Many Electrons Does Boron Have?

Boron is a chemical element with the atomic number 5 and the chemical symbol B. It is a non-metal, semi-metal and a metalloid that has been known to humankind since ancient times. The element is found in the earth’s crust, mostly as borates, and is essential for the growth of plants.

But how many electrons does boron have? To answer this question, we need to delve deeper into the atomic structure of boron.

Atomic Structure of Boron

The atomic structure of boron consists of a central nucleus made up of 5 protons and neutrons. The protons are positively charged particles while the neutrons are uncharged particles. Hence, the atomic number of boron is 5, which means it has 5 protons in its nucleus.

Around the nucleus, there are 5 electrons that revolve in different energy levels or shells. The first shell can hold up to 2 electrons, while the second and third shells can hold up to 8 electrons each. Hence, the electronic configuration of boron is 2-3.

The electronic configuration of boron shows that it has 2 electrons in its first shell and 3 electrons in its outermost shell, also known as the valence shell. The valence shell is responsible for the chemical properties of an element.

Valence Electrons in Boron

The valence electrons in boron are the 3 electrons present in its outermost shell. These electrons determine the chemical reactivity of the element. The valence electrons of an element are the electrons that take part in chemical bonding.

Boron has only 3 valence electrons, which makes it an electron-deficient element. It means that it has fewer valence electrons than the octet rule dictates. The octet rule states that most atoms strive to attain the stable configuration of 8 electrons in their outermost shell, which is similar to the noble gases.

Hence, boron usually forms compounds in which it shares its electrons with other elements, such as oxygen or nitrogen. This sharing of electrons results in the formation of covalent bonds.

The Formation of Ionic and Covalent Bonds

Boron forms both ionic and covalent bonds with other elements. In ionic bonding, boron loses or gains electrons to form ions with a full valence shell. For example, when boron reacts with fluorine, it loses 3 electrons, and each fluorine atom gains one electron. The result is an ionic compound called boron trifluoride (BF3).

In covalent bonding, boron shares its valence electrons with other elements to form a molecule. These bonds are called polar covalent bonds since the shared electrons are not equally distributed between the two elements.

For example, when boron reacts with nitrogen, it shares 3 electrons with 1 nitrogen atom to form a molecule of boron nitride (BN). The sharing of these electrons results in the formation of a covalent bond.


In conclusion, boron has 5 electrons, 2 in its first shell and 3 in its outermost shell. These outermost shell electrons are known as valence electrons and determine the chemical properties of the element. Boron has 3 valence electrons, which makes it an electron-deficient element, and it usually forms compounds by sharing its electrons with other elements.

Boron can form both ionic and covalent bonds with other elements, depending on the nature of the reaction. The sharing of electrons between boron and other elements results in the formation of stable compounds that are essential for many industrial applications, including agriculture and electronics.

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