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Ionization Energy and the Periodic Table

The periodic table organizes the elements according to their increasing atomic number. This is useful
because repeating patterns of physical and chemical properties occur as the atomic number of the
elements increases. This is called the periodic law.

Ionization Energy is the amount of attraction an atom has for its own electrons. An element with a
high ionization energy attracts its own electrons very strongly. It is not likely to release electrons to
participate in chemical reactions. An element with a low ionization energy gives up electrons easily.
It is more likely to participate in chemical reactions. Thus, the ionization energy of each element
gives us one measure of its reactivity compared to other elements.

This information is particularly useful in predicting how each metallic element will behave
chemically. Ionization energy is not as useful for predicting the chemical activity of nonmetals and
metalloids. They are more likely to accept or share electrons in chemical reactions rather than to give
up their electrons. In this activity you will examine how the ionization energy varies as the atomic
number increases.

Procedure:

1. Study the chart of ionization energies and electronegativies found below. The units for
ionization energy on this chart are kilojoules/mole.

2. If you are plotting this graph by hand turn the paper horizontally. The x-axis is the atomic
number and should go to 92 (uranium). The y-axis is ionization energy (kJ/mol) and should go
from 0 to 2500.

3. Connect the data points with straight lines. Start with the ionization energy for the element with
atomic number 1 and connect to atomic number 2 value, then continue with a new straight line to
number 3. Label the graph peaks and valleys with the symbol for those elements.

3. Write out in words your conclusions from the graph.


1314 2368
H He
2.1 Ionization Energies and --
519 900 Electronegativites 799 1088 1401 1036 1682 2076
Li Be B C N O F Ne
1.0 1.5 2.0 2.5 3.0 3.5 4.0 --
498 736 578 787 1063 1000 1256 1519
Na Mg Al Si P S Cl Ar
0.9 1.2 1.5 1.8 2.1 2.5 3.0 --
418 590 632 661 649 653 716 762 757 736 745 904 578 782 1013 942 1142 1352
K Ca Sc Ti V Cr Mn Fe Co Ni Cu Zn Ga Ge As Se Br Kr
0.8 1.0 1.3 1.5 1.6 1.6 1.5 1.8 1.8 1.8 1.9 1.6 1.6 1.8 2.0 2.4 2.8 --
402 548 636 670 653 695 720 724 745 804 728 866 557 707 833 870 1008 1172
Rb Sr Y Zr Nb Mo Tc Ru Rh Pd Ag Cd In Sn Sb Te I Xe
0.8 1.0 1.2 1.4 1.5 1.8 1.9 2.2 2.2 2.2 1.9 1.7 1.7 1.8 1.9 2.1 2.5 --
377 502 540 531 586 770 757 841 887 862 887 1008 590 716 770 820 -- 1038
Cs Ba La Hf Ta W Re Os Ir Pt Au Hg Tl Pb Bi Po At Rn
0.7 0.9 1.1 1.3 1.5 1.7 1.9 2.2 2.2 2.2 2.4 1.9 1.8 1.8 1.9 2.0 2.2 --
-- 510 678 --
Fr Ra Ac Ku
0.7 0.9 1.1 --

1008 – 665 557 607 -- 540 548 594 649 657 -- -- -- 598 481
Ce Pr Nd Pm Sm Eu Gd Tb Dy Ho Er Tm Yb Lu
Ionization energy
1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.1 1.2
C - symbol
-- -- 385 -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- -- --
2.5 - electro- Th Pa U Np Pu Am Cm Bk Cf Es Fm Md No Lr
negativity 1.3 1.5 1.7 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 1.3 --