Calcium (Ca) is a chemical element that belongs to the group two of the periodic table. It is a soft, silvery-white alkaline earth metal that is highly reactive and can be found abundantly in minerals such as limestone, gypsum, and fluorite.
One of the key properties of an element is its electron configuration, which describes how the electrons are arranged around its nucleus. The electron configuration of Calcium is 1s² 2s² 2p⁶ 3s² 3p⁶ 4s². This means Calcium has a total of 20 electrons and its valence electrons are the ones located in the outermost shell, which is the 4th shell or n=4.
To determine how many valence electrons an element has, we need to look at the group it belongs to. Calcium belongs to group 2 or the alkaline earth metals, which have two valence electrons. This means that Calcium has two valence electrons located in the 4s orbital.
Valence electrons are the electrons involved in chemical reactions and they are responsible for the element’s reactivity. In the case of Calcium, its two valence electrons make it highly reactive and easily form compounds with other elements.
Calcium’s valence electrons also play a crucial role in the formation of ionic compounds. Calcium has a tendency to lose its two valence electrons to become a cation with a 2+ charge. This makes Calcium attractive to elements that have a tendency to gain electrons, such as Cl, O, F, and S.
When Calcium reacts with these elements, it forms ionic compounds such as CaCl₂, CaO, CaF₂, and CaS. These compounds have unique properties that are different from the properties of the individual elements. For example, Calcium chloride is a white crystalline solid that is highly soluble in water and is commonly used in food processing and de-icing roads.
In addition to forming ionic compounds, Calcium also forms covalent bonds with other elements. Covalent bonding occurs when two atoms share electrons to complete their outermost shell. When Calcium forms covalent bonds, it shares its valence electrons with another element, such as Carbon or Oxygen.
Calcium’s ability to form covalent bonds is important in biological systems, where it plays a significant role in cell signaling, muscle contraction, and bone formation. In the human body, Calcium is stored in bones and teeth, where it provides structural support and strength. It is also involved in nerve transmission, blood clotting, and enzyme activity.
In conclusion, Calcium has two valence electrons located in the 4s orbital, which make it highly reactive and attractive to elements that have a tendency to gain electrons. Its valence electrons are involved in the formation of ionic and covalent compounds, which have unique properties that are important in various applications such as food processing, medicine, and industry. Calcium’s role in biological systems is also significant, where it provides structural support and plays important roles in cellular processes.