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Answer to Question #56383 in General Chemistry for Tracy Guido

Question #56383
Are Group 3A elements more reactive than 4A? Is Fe Zn Cu more reactive How can you tell by looking at the periodic table?
Expert's answer
There are two main characteristics determining the chemical reactivity: ionization energy for metals and electronegativity for non-metals.
Ionization energy is increasing from left to right in a period and decreasing from top to bottom in a group.
At the same time, electronegativity has opposite trends — increasing in a period and decreasing in a group.
Thus, elements of group 3A are more reactive metals than elements from group 4A and at the same time elements from group 4A are more reactive nonmetals.
Everything is relative.
In a row Fe, Zn, Cu reactivity depends on the filling of outer electron shell. Due to this effect they have very close reactivity to 3A elements, but Zn and Cu are stabilized by filled outer 3d10 electron subshell.

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