# How many electrons can the outermost shell hold? 32 or 8?

• ihaveabutt
In summary, the book says the outermost shell can hold up to 8 electrons, but there are known elements with more than 32 in one shell.
ihaveabutt
In this physics textbook, in the part where it is introducing atoms and in particular, electron shells. it says:

"the first and inner most shell has a capacity for 2 electrons, the outermost shell has a capacity for 32 electrons"

I thought the outermost shell always had a maximum capacity of 8.

Is this not talking about the valence shell?

or is there some cases where it could have a whole 32 and if so, why then does the arrow diagram (for electron configuration) give the 7th shell only s and p which would hold a maximum of 8?

hi ihaveabutt!
ihaveabutt said:
I thought the outermost shell always had a maximum capacity of 8.

no, the L (second) shell has a maximum of 8 …

2 in the s sub-shell, and 6 in the p sub-shell​

the sub-shells have 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 … orbits, multiplied by 2 for spin, making 2, 6, 10, 14, 18 …

so the N (fourth) shell has a maximum of 2 + 6 + 10 + 14 = 32 electrons

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_shell#Number_of_electrons_in_each_shell
No known element has more than 32 electrons in anyone shell. This is because the subshells are filled according to the Aufbau principle. The first elements to have more than 32 electrons in one shell would belong to the g-block of period 8 of the periodic table. These elements would have some electrons in their 5g subshell and thus have more than 32 electrons in the O shell (fifth principal shell).​

tiny-tim said:
hi ihaveabutt! no, the L (second) shell has a maximum of 8 …

2 in the s sub-shell, and 6 in the p sub-shell​

the sub-shells have 1, 3, 5, 7, 9 … orbits, multiplied by 2 for spin, making 2, 6, 10, 14, 18 …

so the N (fourth) shell has a maximum of 2 + 6 + 10 + 14 = 32 electrons

see http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Electron_shell#Number_of_electrons_in_each_shell
No known element has more than 32 electrons in anyone shell. This is because the subshells are filled according to the Aufbau principle. The first elements to have more than 32 electrons in one shell would belong to the g-block of period 8 of the periodic table. These elements would have some electrons in their 5g subshell and thus have more than 32 electrons in the O shell (fifth principal shell).​

So how many electrons maximum for the (outermost) 7th shell?

ihaveabutt said:
So how many electrons maximum for the (outermost) 7th shell?

how many do you think?

tiny-tim said:
how many do you think?

8, but the book says 32.

the answer is 32 for N = 4.

The answer is 8 for N = 2: 2 in the 2s orbital, 6 in the 2p orbitals.

It depends on what you mean by shell. If you mean "all orbitals with the same value of the principal quantum number" - number of electrons is much higher. In general, nth shell holds up to 2n2 electrons on all subshells (orbitals - s, p, d, f...). Doesn't mean we know elements with 98 electrons on Q shell, that's just a theoretical number, but it is not clear whether the book refers to theory, or existing cases.

## 1. How many electrons can the outermost shell hold?

The outermost shell, also known as the valence shell, can hold a maximum of 8 electrons.

## 2. Is it possible for the outermost shell to hold more than 8 electrons?

No, according to the octet rule, the outermost shell is most stable when it has 8 electrons. Therefore, it cannot hold more than 8 electrons.

## 3. Why can the outermost shell only hold a maximum of 8 electrons?

This is due to the arrangement of electrons in an atom. The first shell can hold a maximum of 2 electrons, while the second and third shells can hold up to 8 electrons each. The outermost shell is the third shell, so it can also hold a maximum of 8 electrons.

## 4. Can the number of electrons in the outermost shell vary for different elements?

Yes, the number of electrons in the outermost shell can vary for different elements. This is because the number of electrons in an element's outermost shell is determined by its atomic number and the number of electrons it has in its inner shells.

## 5. How does the number of electrons in the outermost shell affect an element's chemical properties?

The number of electrons in the outermost shell determines an element's valency, or its ability to form chemical bonds with other elements. Elements with a full outermost shell (8 electrons) are stable and less likely to form bonds, while elements with partially filled outermost shells are more reactive and tend to form bonds with other elements to achieve a stable electron configuration.

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