Zinc (chemical symbol Zn) has an Atomic Number of 30. This means that it contains 30 protons within its nucleus. The number of electrons in a neutral atom is equal to its number of protons. We can therefore conclude that zinc contains a total number of 30 electrons. Any atom’s electron configuration is determined by its place on the periodic tree. This is labelled with the period (ties) in the periodic tableau first, followed by the sub-atomic orbitals s and p and d and f and the number electrons in. Each “s” orbital can hold no more than 2 electrons. There are 3 orbitals each with 2 electrons, which gives rise to the numbers 1 through 6. There are 10 “d” orbitals, and 14 electrons in 7 “f” orbitals. Take this example:

Fluorine (atomic # 9), is found in the “p”, period 2. Therefore, its electron confoguration would have been 1s22s22p5; add the exponents (2+2+5=9) and the answer will equal the atomic number.

Zinc (Zn), the 30th atomic number, is found in the “d” block in period 4. It’s electron configuration could be represented as 1s22s2 2p6 3s2 4s2 4s2 3p6 4s2 4s2 3d10; add up the exponents (2+2+6+2+6+2+2+2+10=30), and we get the 30th atomic number.

Condensed representations of electron configurations are also possible. The valence electrons can be represented in a condensed form with the only outer electrons. This is done by placing the prior inert gas into square brackets. For fluorine, it would be [He]2s2p6 with the Helium symbol He representing all previous electron configurations.

The condensed electron configuration for zinc would be [Ar]5s2 3d10

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