Comparison of Lanthanides and Actinides

In the previous session, we studied about the general characteristics of lanthanides and actinides. We noticed that both lanthanides and actinides have similar outermost electronic configuration due to which they show certain similarties and differences.

Similarties between Actinides and Lanthanides

  • Both lanthanides and actinides have common oxidation state +3.
  • They have high melting point and boiling point, showing magnetic and spectral properties.
  • Both lanthanides and actinides have similar electronic configuration in which last electron enters in (n-2)f-subshell. Hence, they have similar properties.
  • Lanthanides having lanthanide contraction and actinides having actinide contraction in which with increase in atomic number, nuclear charge increases  due to which atomic size decreases.
  • They are highly electropositive and very reactive elements.
  • Solubility of lanthanides and actinides –

Nitrates, sulphates, perchlorates – Soluble

Fluorides, carbonates, hydroxides – insoluble

Difference between Lanthnaides and Actinides –         

  • All elements of actinide series are radioactive whereas elements of lanthanide series are non-radioactive except promethium.
  • Actinides have maximum +6 oxidation state whereas lanthanides have maximum +4 oxidation state.
  • Actnides – 89 to 103

Lanthanides – 57 to 71

  • In actinides, outermost electron enters in the 5f subshell whereas in lanthanides, outermost electron enters in 4f-subshell.
  • Actinides have ability to form oxocations whereas lathanides do not have ability to form oxocations.
  • The compounds formed by actinides are highly basic but the compounds formed by lanthanides are less basic.
  • Actinides have greater tendency to form complexes with ligands such as thioether whereas lanthanides have less tendency to form complexes.
  • Most of the actinide ions  are colored whereas lanthanide ions are colorless.
  • The  paramagnetic nature of the actinides can be easily explained whereas this concept is very difficult to explain in case of lanthanides.

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