The Structure Of Copper

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Copper is a transition metal with the chemical symbol “Cu”. Like all atoms, it is composed of protons, neutrons, and electrons. Protons are positively charged subatomic particles with a relative mass of one. Neutrons are neutrally charged subatomic particles with a relative mass of one as well. The nucleus contains both the protons and the neutrons. Electrons are negatively charged subatomic particles with a relative mass of 1/200. Though protons and neutrally differ drastically in size, their relatives charges are equal. Protons have a charge of +1 and electrons a charge of -1. Copper has an atomic number of twenty-nine due to its twenty-nine protons. This also means that a neutral atom of Copper has twenty- nine electrons. Since the mass …show more content…
Orbitals are regions in the electron cloud where the electrons spend most of their time. The convention for orbital designation is as follows. The principle quantum number, “n”, describes the relative size of the orbital. This number coincides with the period that the atom is located in on the periodic table and correlates with the energy of the orbital. “l” is the angular momentum quantum number and is related to the shape of the orbital. An angular momentum number of 0 means that the orbital is spherical; thus, its letter designation is “s”. An angular momentum of 1 means that the orbital has two lobes— its letter designation is “p”. The “d” orbital has a number of 2 and possess 4 lobes. Angular momentum number of 3 has 6 lobes a letter designation of “f”. The magnetic quantum number indicates the spatial orientation of the orbital. The electron configuration of the atom is as follows: [Ar] 4s1 3d10. Electron configurations delineates the position of the atoms electrons. This means that an atom of copper looks similar to Argon. However, it possesses 11 more electrons. Ten in its 3d subshell and one in its 4s subshell. Copper has a strange electron configuration due to full shell stability. In accordance with practice it thought that the electron configuration of copper would be [Ar] 3d9 4s2 . However, a full 3d subshell is more …show more content…
Copper has a moderately low ionization energy, meaning that it takes a small amount of energy to remove its valence electron. Therefore, copper is more likely to form a cation than an anion. Though the 3d subshell posses more energy than the 4s, when ionized the 4s electron is removed first to form a cation. This is due to screening from the 3d electrons. All ten electrons, shield the singular 4s electron from the effective nuclear charge of the atom, thus causing the lower energy 4s electron to act as the atom’s valence electron. This behavior is characteristic of most transition metals. The first ionization energy does not vary much across the transition metal; as a result, most transition metals have more than one oxidation energy. Copper has two. It may lose one electron from its 4s subshell to become a Cu+ ion; but it may also lose two electrons, the 4s and one from the 3d orbitals to become Cu2+

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