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Can anyone clarify the differences between torsional strain, steric strain, and bond angle strain?
A torsional strain is the repulsion caused by the electrons in between different groups when they pass by each other. A steric strain is caused by the electrons in between different groups. Steric strain cannot be lessened by rotating the molecule around a bond. An angle strain is caused when the actual bond angles in the atoms of the molecule differ from the ideal bond angles of their geometry.
Torsional strain is caused by unfavorable electrostatic interaction. When molecules are eclipsed (as when the carbon atoms are in a planar geometry), the regions of electron density from the eclipsed atoms are closer together, thus leading to higher energy and less stability of the molecule. Steric strain is when the outer radius of atoms are physically bumping into each other. A bond angle strain occurs when the bond angle is distorted from the ideal bond angles.
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