What is the protective effect? (with photos)

Shielding has important solid-state functions in metals.

The term “shielding effect” refers to a decrease in the attraction between electrons and the nucleus of an atom. Electrons are highly attracted to the nucleus because they have a negative charge and the nucleus contains protons, which have a positive charge. When additional electrons are present in different orbits, the electrons repel each other slightly. This repulsive force acts against the attractive force of the nucleus, decreasing the attraction between the electrons and the nucleus.

The protective effects are greater on elements that are at the bottom of the periodic table than those above.

The electrons in an atom can be found in various orbits. The first orbit can contain two electrons in total. The additional orbits contain various numbers of electrons, with the outermost orbit known as the valence orbit. The electron shielding effect mainly applies to valence electrons. The electrons found in the inner orbits will shield the attractive force of the nucleus.

The positions of the electrons explain how much shielding occurs. The electrons in the first orbit, called S electrons, are the least protected because they are closest to the nucleus. Electrons in the second orbit, the P orbit, are somewhat more protected. The electrons in the third orbit, the D orbit, are more shielded than in the P orbit. Therefore, the more electrons in an atom, the greater the distance from the nucleus and the greater the decrease in attraction.

The strength of shield effects can be estimated using the periodic table. The element settings in the table provide specific periodic trends, one related to this effect. Each row in the table refers to a new electron level, with the bottom rows having more levels and the top row just one level. This means that the effect is greatest on the elements found at the bottom of the table.

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A strong shield effect will influence how easily electrons can be removed, which is known as ionization energy. Electrons in the first orbit are very difficult to remove because they must pass through electrons in all other orbits. Electrons in outer orbits are very easy to remove in chemical reactions and processes because there are no other electrons blocking the way. When an atom has one less electron than normal or one more electron, it is called an ion.

Shielding is an important chemical property, and in metals it has important solid-state functions. This effect is used in metals to reduce electrostatic fields in semiconductors. It also reduces the magnitude of any electric fields produced within the metal. Electric fields have charge and distance, and the larger the shield, the shorter the field.

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