I viewed an image showing all the possible oxidation states of each element in the first row of transition metals, and the main oxidation states highlighted in a different colour.

I noticed all elements Sc to Cr had in common a 3+ main oxidation state, and from Mn to Zn 2+ was the common main oxidation state.

The reason stated for this in my good textbook was 2+ oxidation state become more stable relative to 3+ oxidation state, I can't quite understand why.

So Q : why does 2+ oxidation state become more stable relative to 3+ oxidation state for first row of transition metals?

I had drawn the electron - in -boxes configuartion for all elements in the first row, and looked at Hund's rule and partially and fully filled orbtals, but I have not really seen a clear, fundamental explanation of why, for this question.

  • $\begingroup$ While question may be more specific, answer covers whole this topic precisely^ $\endgroup$
    – Mithoron
    Jan 13, 2020 at 15:48

1 Answer 1


It is due to the difference in their second and third ionisation enthalpies. Due to the large difference in the second and third ionisation enthalpies arising from the disturbal of the stable half filled electronic configuration, +2 oxidation state is more favourable.

  • $\begingroup$ (-1) It is true that half-filled subshells are more stable. It is not true that this special stability contributes in any significant way to the overall trend. See the linked question & answer in the comments above... $\endgroup$ Jan 14, 2020 at 12:56

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