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Electron Shielding

Attraction between electrons and the nucleus within an atom.

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Electrons at a Concert

How are electrons like concertgoers?

Credit: Joe Cereghino
Source: http://flic.kr/p/5dGvCN
License: CC BY-NC 3.0

[Figure1]

Electrons hate each other.  Well, not really, but electrons do repel each other.  This repelling leads to electron shielding.  In electron shielding, all of the inner electrons repel the valence electrons.  These valence electrons are still attracted to the nucleus, but the overall attraction to the atom (or effective nuclear charge) is lower due to these inner electrons.  We can visualize this by thinking about a concert.  The nucleus is represented by the band performing.

Creative Applications

  1. What do the people in the crowd represent in this analogy?
  2. How does it get much harder to see for every row of people added?  How is this like electron shielding?
  3. Those people in the back are much more likely to leave if they cannot see, while the people in front probably couldn’t leave if they wanted to because they are trapped by the other people.  How does this show electron interaction between each other and valence electrons?

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Image Attributions

  1. [1]^ Credit: Joe Cereghino; Source: http://flic.kr/p/5dGvCN; License: CC BY-NC 3.0

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