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Ionization Enthalpy

What is Ionization Enthalpy?

The enthalpy change associated with the removal of the first electron from an isolated gaseous atom in its ground state is called the first ionization enthalpy.

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The ionization enthalpy of an element can be defined as the amount of energy required to remove an electron from an isolated gaseous atom in its gaseous state. Ionization enthalpy depends on the following factors:

  1. Penetration effect
  2. Shielding effect
  3. Electronic configuration

1. Penetration Effect

Penetration means the proximity of an electron in an orbital to the nucleus. For each shell and subshell, it can be observed as the relative density of electrons near the nucleus of an atom. Now if we look into the radial probability distribution functions, we see that the electron density of s orbitals is closer than that of p and d orbitals.

The order of penetration power will be 2s > 2p > 3s > 3p > 4s > 3d

2. Shielding Effect

The shielding effect can be defined as the effect in which the inner electrons develop a shield for the electrons in outer shells which does not let the appropriate nuclear charge towards the outermost electrons. Due to this, the outermost electrons experience a low effective nuclear charge and not the actual nuclear charge. The effective nuclear charge can be given as:

Z effective = Z–S

Z effective -> effective nuclear charge

Z-> actual nuclear charge

S -> screening constant

3. Electronic configuration

Elements having half-filled and fully filled orbitals are stable. So if we will try to remove an electron from these orbitals, then it will make them less stable. Hence, more amount of energy is required to remove an electron from these orbitals. Thus, the elements having either half-filled or full-filled electronic configuration will have higher ionization energy.

Trends in the Periodic Table

Across a Period

While moving left to right in a period, the atomic radius decreases. So if the size of an atom decreases, the attractive force between the nucleus and the outermost electrons increases due to which across a period in the periodic table ionization energy generally increases.

In the 2nd period, there is a discrepancy in the trend of ionization enthalpy from boron to beryllium. Ideally, the ionization enthalpy of boron should be more than that of beryllium, but the opposite happens. The reason being beryllium has fully filled subshells and secondly is due to the penetration effect. The boron atom has 2s and 2p orbitals whereas beryllium has 2s orbital only. The penetration power of 2s orbital is more than that of 2p orbitals. Thus, the removal of an electron from the 2p subshell will be easier compared to that of the 2s subshell in beryllium. Hence, due to these two factors, the ionization enthalpy of beryllium will be more compared to that of boron.

In a Group

While moving down in a group ionization energy of elements decreases as the number of shells increases down the group. The outermost electrons will be far away from the nucleus, and the effective nuclear charge will be less. Secondly, the shielding effect also increases down the group as the number of shells increases which in turn results in decreasing ionization energy.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is ionization energy?

The ionization enthalpy of an element can be defined as the amount of energy required to remove an electron from an isolated gaseous atom in its gaseous state.

Is energy required or released in the process of ionization?

Energy is required in the process of ionization.

Why does ionization energy decrease down the group?

While moving down in a group ionization energy of elements decreases as the number of shells increases down the group. The outermost electrons will be far away from the nucleus, and the effective nuclear charge will be less.

Which has higher first ionization energy Boron or Beryllium?

The first ionization of Beryllium is greater than that of Boron because Beryllium has a stable complete electronic configuration (1s22s2) so it, requires more energy to remove the first electron from it, whereas Boron has an electronic configuration (1s22s23s1) which need lesser energy than that of Beryllium.

What are the factors affecting ionization energy?

The factors affecting ionization energy are:
Penetration effect
Shielding effect
Electronic configuration

In this article, we had a glance at the term ionization enthalpy, the factors on which it depends and its trend in the periodic table.

Test your Knowledge on Transition Elements Ionisation enthalpy!

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