Science questions not covered in Chem 14A and 14B. Try to limit questions to chemistry (inorganic chemistry, physical chemistry, organic chemistry, biophysical chemistry, biochemistry, materials science, environmental chemistry).

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Postby Nasir_Ahmed » Fri Oct 28, 2016 7:08 pm

I'm not sure if I just missed Professor Lavelle's explanation of it, but could someone help me understand what Hybridization actually is? Is it just when elements bond with Hydrogen?

Reem Abu-Shamma 2H
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Re: Hybridization

Postby Reem Abu-Shamma 2H » Fri Oct 28, 2016 9:39 pm

Think of the word "Hybrid" to remember the concept of hybridization (hybrid: something made by the combination of two different things). In this case, these "two different things" are the "s" and "p" orbitals, combining to form a new set of orbitals (either sp, sp2, sp3).

The type of hybridized orbital we will need depends on the regions of electron density for the central atom of the molecule:
1) sp when there are 2 regions of electron density (such as linear)
2) sp2 when there are 3 regions of electron density (such as trigonal planar)
3) sp3 when there are 4 regions of electron density (such as tetrahedral).

Hybridization simply occurs because sometimes the arrangement of the electrons in the atomic orbitals does not correspond to the arrangement needed to form bonds. To form bonds, you need the electrons to be unpaired (or parallel) in their orbitals (which basically means 1 electron per orbital). This will give the other electron (coming from the shared atom) a place in the orbital.

Example: CH4 (tetrahedral shape: sp3). In the case of sp3 (need to form 4 single bonds), all three of the 2p orbitals and the single 2s orbital HYBRIDIZE to form a new set of orbitals (sp3). Now, each of the four orbitals has a single electron (all with parallel spins: remember hunds rule), and the carbon atom has the appropriate set of orbitals needed to form 4 single bonds with hydrogen. Before hybridization it couldn't because the 2s orbital was filled with 2 electrons (i.e there was nowhere to put the electrons from H)

Note that the energy of the hybridized orbitals are intermediate between the s and the p orbital energies.

Also, hybridization does not only occur when elements bond with Hydrogen. It could occur with any other bonding element.

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