Which of the following pairs of elements would have a more negative electron gain enthalpy?
Question:

Which of the following pairs of elements would have a more negative electron gain enthalpy?

(i) $\mathrm{O}$ or $\mathrm{F}$

(ii) $\mathrm{F}$ or $\mathrm{Cl}$

Solution:

(i) O and F are present in the same period of the periodic table. An F atom has one proton and one electron more than O and as an electron is being added to the same shell, the atomic size of F is smaller than that of O. As F contains one proton more than O, its nucleus can attract the incoming electron more strongly in comparison to the nucleus of O atom. Also, F needs only one more electron to attain the stable noble gas configuration. Hence, the electron gain enthalpy of F is more negative than that of O.

(ii) F and Cl belong to the same group of the periodic table. The electron gain enthalpy usually becomes less negative on moving down a group. However, in this case, the value of the electron gain enthalpy of Cl is more negative than that of F. This is because the atomic size of F is smaller than that of Cl. In F, the electron will be added to quantum level n = 2, but in Cl, the electron is added to quantum level n = 3. Therefore, there are less electron- electron repulsions in Cl and an additional electron can be accommodated easily. Hence, the electron gain enthalpy of Cl is more negative than that of F.

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