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Sigma bonds overlap end-to-end to form a bond, whereas pi bonds form by overlapping side-by-side with each other. A significant difference is that sigma bonds allow rotation of atoms, whereas the pi bonds break if one of the atom rotates. Also, sigma bonds are more stable than pi bonds and form before pi bonds, therefore, pi bonds are only found in double and triple bonds.
Bao Tram Nguyen wrote:What is the difference between these two bonds and why are they significant?
The electrons in a sigma bond are referred to as localized between the internuclear space due to the way in which the orbitals overlap; on the other hand, pi bond electrons can be delocalized and can move around the molecule rather than remain in the internuclear space.
Sigma bonds affect molecular shape, whereas pi bonds do not affect molecular shape as defined by VSEPR (because VSEPR is an idealized model). In reality, it does contribute more electron density, but pi bonds do not affect the shapes that are determined by VSEPR.
You should know the differences pi and sigma bonds form in orbital overlap. Pi bonds form side-to-side while sigma bonds form end to end. Additionally, single bonds are made up of one sigma bond, double bonds are made up of one sigma and one pi bond, and triple bonds are made up of one sigma and two pi bonds. Hope this helps!
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