Problem: Explain the variation in ionization energies of carbon, as displayed in the graph.

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We have to explain the trend of ionization energies of carbon.


To determine why the fifth ionization energy of carbon is so high, we need to determine which of the ions is most difficult to remove an electron from.

Ionization energy (I. E.) is the energy required to remove an electron from a gaseous atom or ion.

First I.E. corresponds to removing the first valence electron from a neutral atom.

Second I.E. refers to removing a second electron.

 Third I.E. refers to removing the third electron.

ionization energies further up are referred to as which electron is being removed: fourth, fifth, etc.

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Problem Details

A line graph has ionization number on the X-axis, ranging from 1 to 6 with intervals every 1, and ionization energy of carbon (kilojoules per mole) on the Y-axis, ranging from 10,000 to 50,000 with intervals every 10,000.  Data are summarized approximately as follows: An ionization number of 1 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 2000 kJ/mol; an ionization number of 2 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 2500 kJ/mol; an ionization number of 3 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 5000 kJ/mol; an ionization number of 4 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 7000 kJ/mol; an ionization number of 5 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 38000 kJ/mol; an ionization number of 6 correlates with an ionization energy of carbon of 48000 kJ/mol.

Explain the variation in ionization energies of carbon, as displayed in the graph.