The elements of group 16 are collectively called chalcogens.
[i]. Elements of group 16 have six valence electrons each. The general electronic configuration of these elements is ns2 np4, where n varies from 2 to 6.
[ii]. Oxidation state: As these elements have six valence electrons [ns2np4], they should display an oxidation state of -2. However, only oxygen predominantly shows the oxidation state of -2 owing to its high Electronegativity. It also exhibits the oxidation state of -1 [H2O2], zero [O2], and +2 [OF2]. However, the stability of the -2 oxidation state decreases on moving down a group due to a decrease in the Electronegativity of the elements. The heavier elements of the group show an oxidation state of +2, +4, and +6 due to the availability of d-orbitals.
[iii]. Formation of hydrides: These elements form hydrides of formula H2E, where E = O, S, Se, Te, PO. Oxygen and sulphur also form hydrides of type H2E2. These hydrides are quite volatile in nature.
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