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So I get that these different orbitals correspond with the different blocks of the periodic table, but what does it mean in a more real-life sense? Like how can I picture this difference in my head when I am talking about the different orbitals?
The way I understand it is that the orbitals are just wave functions modeling where the electrons are most probably located. As the number of electrons increases, the patterns of where they could be located (from the s-subshell, to the p, d ,f) are added to model the atom, which is why the orbitals correspond to the blocks of the periodic table
Think of orbitals as surrounding shells that the electrons move really fast through. For example, for the s orbital, the electrons MOST LIKELY can be found traveling around the nucleus following a spherical path. The same goes for p d and f orbitals. However, we can't know 100% where an electron will be.
When I try to picture this, it's also helpful to remember that each subshell has an increasing number of orbitals and can therefore hold an increasing amount of electrons. So 3s can only hold 2 electrons since it only has one orbital. But 3p has three orbitals and can therefore hold up to 6 electrons
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