Sulphur Valence Electrons

Valence Electrons

As was mentioned in a previous section of this chapter, electrons are highly important, because a specific subset of electrons, called valence electrons, are solely-responsible for determining how elements bond with one another. The number of valence electrons that are present in an atom can be determined from that atom's electron configuration. Valence electrons are found in the orbitals associated with an atom's highest occupied energy level. The remaining electrons, which are called inner shell electrons, do not participate in bonding and are, therefore, not important to study.

2021: Valence Electrons in Sulfur (S) & Facts, Color, Discovery. A valence electron is an outer shell electron and may participate in the formation of a chemical bond. Ok but how many valence electrons does an atom of Sulfur have? In the case of Sulfur the valence electrons is 2,4,6. Sulfur has sixteen electrons total, two in the inner shell, eight in the middle, and six in the outer. This means that it would have six valence electrons.

Consider sulfur's electron configuration, which was determined in the previous section and is replicated below.

1s22s22p63s23p4

Recall that the energy levels in an electron configuration are the leading red numbers that denote the start of a new energy level/orbital combination. Sulfur has electrons in the first, second, and third energy levels, as indicated by the leading red1, 2's, and 3's, respectively. Valence electrons are those found in the highest occupiedenergy level. Therefore, in this case, only those electrons associated with an energy level/orbital combination beginning with a 3 need to be considered. Since two energy level/orbital combinations begin with a 3, both orbitals are selected for further consideration:

3s23p4

The superscripts associated with these orbitals total to 6. Therefore, sulfur has 6 valence electrons.

Example (PageIndex{1})

Determine how many of nitrogen's electrons are classified as valence electrons. Nitrogen's electron configuration, which was determined in the previous section, is shown below.

1s22s22p3

Solution

Nitrogen has electrons in the first and second energy levels, as indicated by the leading red1 and 2's, respectively. Valence electrons are those found in the highest occupiedenergy level. Therefore, in this case, only those electrons associated with an energy level/orbital combination beginning with a 2 need to be considered. Since two energy level/orbital combinations begin with a 2, both orbitals are selected for further consideration:

2s22p3

The superscripts associated with these orbitals total to 5. Therefore, nitrogen has 5 valence electrons.

Exercise (PageIndex{1})

Determine how many of the electrons in each of the following elements are classified as valence electrons. Each element's electron configuration, which was determined in the previous section, is shown below.

1. Neon

1s22s22p6

1. Calcium

1s22s22p63s23p64s2

Neon has electrons in the first and second energy levels, as indicated by the leading red1 and 2's, respectively. Valence electrons are those found in the highest occupiedenergy level. Therefore, in this case, only those electrons associated with an energy level/orbital combination beginning with a 2 need to be considered. Since two energy level/orbital combinations begin with a 2, both orbitals are selected for further consideration:

2s22p6

The superscripts associated with these orbitals total to 8. Therefore, neon has 8 valence electrons.
Calcium has electrons in the first, second, third, and fourth energy levels, as indicated by the leading red1, 2's, 3's, and 4, respectively. Valence electrons are those found in the highest occupiedenergy level. Therefore, in this case, only those electrons associated with an energy level/orbital combination beginning with a 4 need to be considered. Since only one energy level/orbital combination begins with a 4, only one orbital is selected for further consideration:

4s2

The superscript

Sulfur Valence Electrons How Many

associated with this orbital is a 2. Therefore, calcium has 2 valence electrons.

While an electron configuration represents all of the electrons present in an atom of an element, chemists are only truly interested in an atom's valence electrons, since, as indicated above, those are the electrons that are solely-responsible for determining how elements bond with one another. Therefore, finding a 'shortcut' for determining how many valence electrons are present in an atom would be highly convenient. Such a 'shortcut' does, indeed, exist. In a previous section of this chapter, three systems for labeling the groups, or columns, on the periodic table were presented. The second system, which is called the 'A/B System,' was indicated to provide insight into the electronic character of elements found within that group.

Again, consider sulfur, S, which, based on its electron configuration, has 6 valence electrons.

Sulfur is located in the 16th column of the periodic table. However, the 'A/B System' is used to label the main group elements. Group 16 is the 6th column in the main group, or 'A-Block,' columns of the periodic table and so is labeled as Group 6A. Note that sulfur's valence electron count matches its group number in the 'A/B System.' This connection applies to nearly all elements found in the main group columns of the periodic table. Helium is the only exception to this rule, as it is found in Group 8A, but only contains two total electrons. This inconsistency invalidates the 'A/B shortcut' method, and the electron configuration method must be employed to determine that both of helium's electrons are valence electrons.

Since the 'A/B System' group number corresponds to the number of valence electrons that are present in an atom, all elements found within the same column have the same number of valence electrons. Since an atom's valence electrons are solely-responsible for determining how elements bond with one another, this commonality in electronic character explains why all of the elements within the same group share similar properties.

Example (PageIndex{2})

Based on its location on the periodic table, determine how many of nitrogen's electrons are classified as valence electrons.

Solution

The 'A/B System' group number indicates the number of valence electrons that are present in an atom. Nitrogen (N) is located in the 15th column of the periodic table. However, the 'A/B System' is used to label the main group elements. Group 15 is the 5th column in the main group, or 'A-Block,' columns of the periodic table and so is labeled as Group 5A. Therefore, nitrogen has 5 valence electrons. (This answer is consistent with the solution to Example (PageIndex{1}).)

Exercise (PageIndex{2})

Based on the periodic table, determine how many of the electrons in each of the following elements are classified as valence electrons.

1. Neon
2. Calcium
The 'A/B System' group number indicates the number of valence electrons that are present in an atom. Neon (Ne) is located in Group 18, which is labeled as Group 8A, using the 'A/B System.' Therefore, neon has 8 valence electrons. (This answer is consistent with the solution to Exercise (PageIndex{1}text{a}).)
Calcium (Ca) is located in Group 2, which is labeled as Group 2A in the 'A/B System.' Therefore, calcium has 2 valence electrons. (Again, this answer is consistent with the solution to Exercise (PageIndex{1}text{b}).)

What are the four quantum numbers for sulfur?

Explanation:

Sulfur = element #16

The first quantum number tells you which energy level electron #16 is in, it is in level 3

Sulphur Valence Electrons

The second number tells you which sublevel the electron is in - it is in the 3p sublevel. We use s=0, p=1, d=2, f=3

Sulfur Valence Electrons When Forming An Ionic Bond

The third quantum number tells you which orbital of the sublevel an electron is in. The three orbitals of the 3p sublevel will each fill with an up spin electron first, the left most orbital will get also down spin electron. This is electron #16, so its third quantum number is -1. The three orbitals for a p sublevel are labeled -1, 0, +1

The final number tells you the spin - use $- \frac{1}{2}$ since this is a down-spin electron.

Here is a video to help more with quantum numbers:
Video from: Noel Pauller

Hope this helps!