Justify the placement of O, S, Se,
Question:

Justify the placement of O, S, Se, Te and Po in the same group of the periodic table in terms of electronic configuration, oxidation state and hydride formation.

Solution:

The elements of group 16 are collectively called chalcogens.

(i) Elements of group 16 have six valence electrons each. The general electronic configuration of these elements is ns2 np4, where n varies from 2 to 6.

(ii) Oxidation state:

As these elements have six valence electrons (ns2 np4), they should display an oxidation state of −2. However, only oxygen predominantly shows the oxidation state of −2 owing to its high electronegativity. It also exhibits the oxidation state of −1 (H2O2), zero (O2), and +2 (OF2). However, the stability of the −2 oxidation state decreases on moving down a group due to a decrease in the electronegativity of the elements. The heavier elements of the group show an oxidation state of +2, +4, and +6 due to the availability of d-orbitals.

(iii) Formation of hydrides:

These elements form hydrides of formula H2E, where E = O, S, Se, Te, PO. Oxygen and sulphur also form hydrides of type H2E2. These hydrides are quite volatile in nature.

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