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To my knowledge, orbitals are more representations of where the electron can be found at any given time. For example, with an s orbital, there's a sphere of space where the electron can be found, whereas with the p orbital it's more of a peanut shape.
Orbitals can really be thought of a cloud like areas around a nucleus where you can predictably find electrons at any given time, as it is based off of a mathematical wave function type equation. I think that they do tend to form the general shapes we see in our chemistry textbooks, mainly because in a stable state the electrons do have repulsion and will try to spread out in a manner that is furthest away from any other electrons. The main idea, however, is that orbitals can hold certain numbers of electrons, especially the valence orbitals, and tend to choose orbital patterns that will bring the most stability based on the number of electrons they own.
It was mentioned in lecture that an orbital is a math function with three quantum numbers (n, l, m. I think orbitals are 3D representations of the space where an electron can be found rather than indicators of an electron's specific position, especially considering the movement of electrons.
Adam_ElSayed_3B wrote:To my knowledge, orbitals are more representations of where the electron can be found at any given time. For example, with an s orbital, there's a sphere of space where the electron can be found, whereas with the p orbital it's more of a peanut shape.
Is that all we need to know conceptually as far as orbitals go? There isn't a way to find the exact location of the electrons, is there?
It might also be useful to note that in places where there are "blind spots", there is 0 electron density and an electron cannot be located in these areas. These places are called nodes, and there are two types: radial (spherical) and angular (angular). On a coordinate plane, these are where the graph crosses the axes.
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