The fascinating case of beryllium! How many electrons does it have? How many electrons are in beryllium? How is the electron configuration for beryllium different than other elements? Why does beryllium have 4 electrons and not 2 or 6 like most other elements? How can you find out how many neutrons and electrons a given element has with minimal effort? Find out all this and more in our article about what makes up this fascinating element, beryllium!
Beryllium’s electron configuration is unique because while most other elements either take on an arrangement of even numbers, such as eight (oxygen), six (carbon), or two (helium), for its orbitals; or odd numbers when transitioning from lower to higher atomic weights, like five–boron; seven-silicon; nine-sulfur), beryllium has four electrons.
This is because it’s in the family of group two, which means that its outermost shell only contains four orbitals–the s and p orbitals with one electron each. The other two elements from this branch of the periodic table are magnesium and calcium, both of which have 12 electrons total but differ in their placement to form a complete octet around them (eight in the valence shells).
How about some more cool facts!
Beryllium also has an atomic weight of nine grams per mole; its melting point is 1490 degrees Celsius, and silicon oxide can be formed when you react beryllium with oxygen at 1200 degrees Celsius.
Beryllium has four electrons because it’s in group two, which means that its outermost shell only contains four orbitals–the s and p orbitals with one electron each. This article also discusses some other properties of beryllium like atomic weight, melting point, and silicon oxide reactions with oxygen at 1200 degrees Celsius.
There are 12 total electrons and they are all distributed between two different valence shells. The outermost shell only has four orbitals, which is why there’s a restriction on how many electrons it can hold at one time.
The s-orbital contains the first electron with an energy of zero followed by three p-orbitals that each has one electron in them.
As you move into the second shell, there are six more possible positions for electrons to occupy – or five if we’re talking about beryllium because it doesn’t go any further than its fourth electron here. Those orbits contain:
Two s-orbitals holding an additional two electrons (with energies of +0 and +½), Two p-orbitals holding an additional two electrons (with energies of +½ and -¼), And one d-orbital that holds the last electron with the energy of (-¾).
The net result is a total of 12 electrons in six orbitals for beryllium. One proton, four neutrons, and eight protons will also be found inside the nucleus at this point as well.
There are 12 total orbitals for an electron to occupy after going through all five levels (or just three if we’re talking about beryllium): two s-orbitals holding an additional two electrons with energy values of +0 and +½; two p-orbitals holding an additional two electrons with energies of +½ and -¼; one d-orbital that holds the last electron with the energy value (-¾). The net result is a total of twelve valence or outermost electrons for beryllium.
The upper left corner of the periodic table is where we find all four elements with a single electron in their valence shell: hydrogen, silicon, germanium, and tin.
Since there are 12 total orbitals available to an atom’s six protons or seven if it has gained or lost one neutron, this means that each orbital will hold two electrons at most; beyond those two per orbital rule, any additional electron goes into the next free orbital level down.