Magnesium is a chemical element that is represented by the symbol Mg on the periodic table. It is one of the most abundant elements found in the earth’s crust and is essential for various biological processes in living organisms, including plants and animals. In this blog post, we will be discussing the valence electrons of magnesium, which are the electrons in the outermost shell or energy level of an atom.
The electron configuration of magnesium is 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2. It has a total of 12 electrons, which are distributed in three energy levels or shells. The first energy level or shell can hold up to two electrons, while the second and third can hold up to eight electrons each. The valence electrons of magnesium are located in the third energy level or shell, specifically in the 3s subshell. Since this shell can hold up to eight electrons, and the third energy level already has two electrons from the previous subshell (2s2), magnesium has two valence electrons.
Valence electrons are important because they determine the chemical and physical properties of an element when it interacts with other elements. Magnesium’s two valence electrons make it highly reactive and form chemical bonds with other elements. Due to its reactivity, it is not found as an elemental metal in nature but rather as a compound with other elements, such as magnesium oxide (MgO) or magnesium chloride (MgCl2).
When magnesium reacts with other elements, it tends to lose its two valence electrons to form a stable positive ion with a charge of +2. This is because it is energetically favorable for magnesium to have a complete outermost shell of eight electrons, which is the same as the noble gas neon. By losing two electrons, magnesium achieves the electron configuration of the noble gas and becomes more stable. For example, when magnesium reacts with oxygen, it loses its two valence electrons to form magnesium oxide (MgO), which has the stable electron configuration of neon.
In summary, magnesium has two valence electrons located in the third energy level or shell in the 3s subshell. These valence electrons make magnesium highly reactive and form chemical bonds with other elements. Magnesium tends to lose its valence electrons to achieve a complete outermost shell and become more stable. Understanding the valence electrons of magnesium is essential in predicting its chemical behavior and interactions with other elements in various chemical reactions.