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Main group elements that form more bonds than what would be predicted by the normal octet rule are called hypervalent compounds. These compounds have an expanded octet meaning that there are more than eight electrons around one atom. The octet can be expanded by some elements by utilizing the empty d - orbitals found in the third principal energy level and beyond. Sulfur, phosphorous,and chlorine are common examples that have an expanded octet. You can tell that a molecule might have an atom with an expanded octet if (1) the element is capable of accessing the d - orbital and if (2) the atom is more stable with a lower overall formal charge if an element that has access to the d - orbitals is surrounded by more than 8 electrons.
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