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The f-block of the periodic table of the elements consists of those elements whose atoms or ions have valence electrons in f-orbitals. Actual electronic configurations may be slightly different from what is predicted by the aufbau principle. The elements are also known as inner transition elements. There are two series. Elements of the series in which the electrons are in 4f orbitals belong to the lanthanoid series. Elements of the series in which the electrons are in 5f orbitals belong to the actinoid series.[1]

f-block
Lanthanoids 57
La
58
Ce
59
Pr
60
Nd
61
Pm
62
Sm
63
Eu
64
Gd
65
Tb
66
Dy
67
Ho
68
Er
69
Tm
70
Yb
71
Lu
Actinoids 89
Ac
90
Th
91
Pa
92
U
93
Np
94
Pu
95
Am
96
Cm
97
Bk
98
Cf
99
Es
100
Fm
101
Md
102
No
103
Lr

All elements in the lanthanide series form M3+ ions. In aqueous solution the early lanthanides are surrounded by 9 water molecules while the later lanthanides have a coordination number of 8. Cerium also forms compounds with the +4 oxidation state; Ce4+ has the very stable electronic configuration of the noble gas Xe. Ce(IV) is a strong oxidising agent. Eu2+ has the configuration [Xe]4f7 and is a strong reducing agent. The existence of Eu(II) is attributed to the stability of the half-filled f-shell.[2]

The lighter actinides (uranium to americium) show oxidation states of +3, +4, +5 and +6. The later actinides resemble the lanthanides in that the +3 oxidation state is favoured.

See also

References

  1. ^ IUPAC Periodic Table 2007 .pdf
  2. ^ Greenwood, Norman N.; Earnshaw, A. (1997), Chemistry of the Elements (2nd ed.), Oxford: Butterworth-Heinemann, ISBN 0-7506-3365-4   Chapters 30 and 31

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