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A shell is the broad term used to describe an energy level where the electrons reside (same value of n). Within a shell, there are subshells, which also have the same value for l. Orbitals are the specific term to describe where the electrons reside, such as in s or p.
Eileen Si 3H wrote:What is the difference between an orbital and a shell?
Level or Shell: the level or "ring: that the electron occupies, which is the Principal Quantum Number (n)
Orbital: a single shape that can hold up to 2 electrons (ex: px, py, or pz)
- for this class, we are expected to know the shapes of s, p, and d
a shell is the energy level, which is n. orbitals are denoted by ml, and are the shapes that can hold up to 2 electrons. i'll attempt to give an example: n=2, l=1, so we have 2p. there can be 3 values for ml, so we have px, py, and pz. if you remember high school chemistry and electron configuration, this may look familiar to you: 2p_ _ _, where the up and down arrows are drawn on the dashed lines, and the lines correspond with the number of ml values (i also don't know if i'm explaining this correctly so correct me if i'm wrong).
Shells describe a general energy level, while the orbital shows where the electron is likely to be. Although orbitals can also differ slightly in energy levels, orbitals within the same shell are clumped around the same energy level.
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