Answer to Question #11206 in Physical Chemistry for chaitanya harsha
The valence of an element depends on the number of valence electrons that may be involved in the forming of valence bonds. A univalent (monovalent) atom, ion or group has a valence of one and thus can form one covalent bond. A divalent molecular entity has a valence of two and can form two sigma bonds to two different atoms or one sigma bond plus one pi bond to a single atom. Alkyl groups and hydroxyl ions are univalent examples; oxo ligands are divalent.
For elements in the main groups of the periodic table, the valence can vary between one to seven, but usually these elements form a number of valence bonds between one and four. The number of bonds formed by a given element was originally thought to be a fixed chemical property. In fact, in most cases this is not true. For example, phosphorus often has a valence of three, but can also have other valences.
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