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Homework Help: Energy levels of carbon atom electrons

  1. Feb 15, 2010 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data

    Consider a neutral carbon atom that has six electrons orbiting the nucleus. Suppose that
    five of the electrons are in their lowest states,but the sixth is in a very high state. Why
    might the energy levels for the outermost electron be similar to those for the single
    electron in hydrogen. (Hint: Think of what is exerting an electrical force on the outermost

    3. The attempt at a solution

    The 6 protons are attracting the outermost electron. Could the answer be something like the two attractive forces, between the outermost electron and 6 protons is equal to the single proton and electron in hydrogen?
  2. jcsd
  3. Feb 15, 2010 #2


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    Hi warfreak131! :smile:
    But wouldn't that be 6 times as much? :wink:
  4. Feb 15, 2010 #3
    well, no, i assume the "outermost" electron is farther away, so even if the total attractive force of the protons to the 1 electron is greater, its farther away.

    like the ratio of large charge and big distance to small charge and small distance is what im getting at
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