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Caesium's single outer electron is much further from the nucleus than that of sodium, so caesium loses its valence electron much easily than sodium, therefore caseium is much more reactive than sodium.

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15y ago
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14y ago

it is all about the size of the electron cloud surrounding the nucleus. Cesium has more electrons than sodium and therefore the negative valence electrons are held further from the positive nucleus. As a result, an electron held further from the nucleus, such as cesium, requires less energy (ionization energy- energy required to convert the atom to its ion) to be removed from the atom, thereby ionizing it.

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14y ago

Sodium has a higher ionization energy than potasium because the outer electron in sodium is closer to the effective (inner electron shielded) nuclear charge of +e than the potassium atom's outer electron is to it's effective (inner electron shielded) nuclear charge of +e because it is in the N=4 level as opposed to the sodium being in the N=3 level, approximating the single electron outer shell atoms. The coulomb potential and quantum mechanics dictate that this be so.

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Q: Why is the ionization energy of a sodium atom greater than that of a potassium atom?
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