Why does the reactivity of nitrogen differ from phosphorus?
Nitrogen is chemically less reactive. This is because of the high stability of its molecule, N2. In N2, the two nitrogen atoms form a triple bond. This triple bond has very high bond strength, which is very difficult to break. It is because of nitrogen’s small size that it is able to form pπ−pπ bonds with itself. This property is not exhibited by atoms such as phosphorus. Thus, phosphorus is more reactive than nitrogen.
N2 exist as a diatomic molecule containing triple bond.batoeen two N-atoms. Due to the presence —of triple bond betweep the two N-atoms, the bond dissociation energy is large (941 .4 kJ mol-1 ). As aresult of this N2 is inert and unreactive whereas, phosphorus exists as a tetratomic molecule, containg P – P single bond. Due to the presence of single bond, the bond dissociation energy is weaker (213 kJmol-1 ) than N a N triple bond (941 .4 kJ mol-1 ) and moreover due to presence of angular strain in P4 tetrahedra. As a result of this, phosphorus is much more reactive than nitrogen.
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