## Shells & Orbitals

reginacabanban1I
Posts: 14
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Shells & Orbitals

What is the difference between the shells of an atom and orbitals? Can the terms be used interchangeably or do they differ and one exists as a subset of the other?

Amanda Reshke 1D
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Shells & Orbitals

I believe the two are the same and can generally be used interchangeably...however, if there is anything differentiating the two terms, 'orbital' could more specifically be used in language when regarding different shapes (of orbitals).

LinaLi2E
Posts: 22
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Shells & Orbitals

Shells and orbitals are different and should not be used interchangeably. Shells are the energy levels while orbitals are in subshells. So shells have subshells -- s, p, d, f. Within these subshells there are orbitals. So in the p subshell, there are three orbitals -- px, py, pz. Then each orbital holds two electrons. The d subshell has 5 orbital and the f subshell has 7 orbitals. So, the two -- shells and orbitals -- are not the same. The orbitals exist as subsets of shells.

Alli Foreman 2H
Posts: 26
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

### Re: Shells & Orbitals

Shells and orbitals are not the same. When talking about the notation of an element:
n refers to the shell; n = 1, 2, 3, 4, ...
l refers to the subshell; l = n-1 so 0, 1, 2, 3, ...
ml refers to the orbital; ml = -l through +l
ms refers to the spin state; ms = -1/2 or +1/2