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Question 12

Nitrogen exists as diatomic molecule and phosphorus as P4. Why?

Answer

Nitrogen owing to its small size has a tendency to form pπ-π multiple bonds with itself. Nitrogen thus forms a very stable diatomic molecule, N2. On moving down a group, the tendency to form pπ-pπ bonds decreases (because of the large size of heavier elements). Therefore, phosphorus (like other heavier metals) exists in the P4 state.

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