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Homework Help: More Stable Electron Configuration For Copper

  1. Sep 25, 2010 #1


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    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    This isn't really a homework question, but it is part of a lecture powerpoint that the teacher will go through with on Monday and I was just getting ahead so I can understand better.

    [PLAIN]http://img59.imageshack.us/img59/3088/cuelectronconfig.png [Broken]
    2. Relevant equations


    3. The attempt at a solution
    I thought it would be the first one because 4s^2 has a higher energy level so I thought that copper would be more stable. I'm not sure if I'm understanding the wording correctly. So I don't know the correct answer but I hope someone can help me understand.
    Last edited by a moderator: May 4, 2017
  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 25, 2010 #2
    I'm assuming you're in high school or first year chemistry, and the explanation given is that there is a 'special stability' associated with the Copper 3d shell being full, as well as Silver and Gold. In addition, there is also the Chronium having more stability with a half full 3d subshell as opposed to the expected configuration of 4s2 3d4.

    There is supposed to be a much more complicated explanation, and I've tried asking my profs as well, but they say that I won't understand it with the current knowledge I have. For now, first years are just supposed to memorize those elements, (Cr, Cu, Ag, Au).

    Sorry if that answer is not sufficient, perhaps someone else on the physics board could be of greater help.
    Last edited: Sep 25, 2010
  4. Sep 25, 2010 #3


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    Well, the class is just finished 2nd week of AP Chemistry. This lesson is to be taught on Monday and I wanted to get ahead :P. Thanks for your explanation! I think that my teacher's wording is hard to make out. I mean he is really smart (he wrote books and articles and is called Dr.) but he isn't the most fluent in English, by that I mean that he is understandable, but he can leave some things out XD.
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