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Sigma vs. pi

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:22 pm
by 005199302
If length and strength are inversely proportional to one another, why is it that sigma bonds are both larger and stronger than pi bonds?

Re: Sigma vs. pi

Posted: Mon Nov 26, 2018 5:36 pm
by skyeblee2F
Their difference in strength has to do with their overlap. Sigma bonds are characterized by end-to-end overlap while pi bonds (which occur between "leftover" p-orbitals) overlap in a side-to-side fashion.
As you can see in the image below, the head-on contact allows much more overlap and thus more strength.
Image