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Electrons within an atom don't experience the full charge of the nucleus due to the shielding effect? Likewise, when creating atomic bonds, does the shielding effect affect the attraction between two bonding atoms? Thanks for any help offered

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Yes, it does. It is due to the poor shielding effect of f-orbital electrons that we see the inert pair effect; that is, $\ce{Pb^2+}$ is more stable than $\ce{Pb^4+}$. Lower oxidation states are more stable as we go down the 13, 14 & 15 group. This affects the number of bonds that an atom can form.

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