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Nodal planes and electrostatic interactions

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 3:39 pm
by 305154707
How does the presence or absence of a nodal plane affect electrostatic attraction? And what does this mean for atoms with multiple electrons? Also, how does this work with Coulomb's equation?

Re: Nodal planes and electrostatic interactions

Posted: Sun Oct 21, 2018 5:37 pm
by David S
The presence of a nodal plane (a zone where probability of finding an electron is zero) has imporant impacts on electrostatic attractions between electrons and the nucleus. In the case of p and d orbitals, for example, the nodal plane(s) pass through the nucleus. This means that electrons in these orbitals cannot get as close to the nucleus as electrons in the s orbital. Since the proximity of electrons to nucleus affects the strength of the electrostatic attraction between them (force of attraction is inversely proportional to squared distance between the charges), this means that p and d electrons in the same energy level are less strongly bound to the nucleus than s electrons. Furthermore, since s electrons get much closer to nucleus, the p and d orbital electrons experience a stronger shielding effect due to s electrons. This electron shielding is critical in many electron systems and helps explain various trends across the periodic table.