Discuss the pattern of variation in the oxidation states of
(i) B to Tl and (ii) C to Pb.


 

(i) B to Tl
The electric configuration of group 13 elements is ns2 np1. Therefore, the most common oxidation state exhibited by them should be +3. However, it is only boron and aluminium which practically show the +3 oxidation state. The remaining elements, i.e., Ga, In, Tl, show both the +1 and +3 oxidation states. On moving down the group, the +1 state becomes more stable. For example, Tl (+1) is more stable than Tl (+3). This is because
of the inert pair effect. The two electrons present in the s-shell are strongly attracted by the nucleus and do not participate in bonding. This inert pair effect becomes more and more prominent on moving down the group. Hence, Ga (+1) is unstable, In (+1) is fairly stable, and Tl (+1) is very stable.

Group 13 element Oxidation states
B +3
Al +3
Ga, In, Tl +1, +3

The stability of the +3 oxidation state decreases on moving down the group.
(ii) C to Pb
The electronic configuration of group 14 elements is ns2np2. Therefore, the most common oxidation state exhibited by them should be +4. However, the +2 oxidation state becomes more and more common on moving down the group. C and Si mostly show the +4 state. On moving down the group, the higher oxidation state becomes less stable. This is because of the inert pair effect. Thus, although Ge, Sn, and Pb show both the +2 and + 4 states,
the stability of the lower oxidation state increases and that of the higher oxidation state decreases on moving down the group.

Group 14 element Oxidation state
C +4
Si +4
Ge, Sn, Pb +2, +4

stability of +2 state increases     C   Si   Ge   Sn   PbStability of +4 state decreases