Sulfur Octet Exception

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Samantha Pedersen 2K
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Sulfur Octet Exception

Postby Samantha Pedersen 2K » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:44 pm

What is the maximum number of electrons that sulfur can have in bonding?

I know that elements in row 2 can have 8 electrons because they have the S and P orbitals available to them (4 orbitals total with 2 electrons each), so I would guess that elements in row 3 like sulfur can have up to 18 electrons because they have the S, P, and D orbitals available to them (9 orbitals total with 2 electrons each). However, I'm not sure if that reasoning is correct, so I would greatly appreciate it if someone could clarify that for me!

Samuel Flores 1E
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Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:51 pm

Re: Sulfur Octet Exception

Postby Samuel Flores 1E » Mon Nov 02, 2020 12:55 pm

Yes, your reasoning is correct! For elements in Period 3, the valence shell has the 3s orbital (which can hold up to 2 electrons), the 3p orbitals (which can hold up to 6 electrons) and then the 3d orbitals (which can hold up to 10 electrons). We can add all these electrons together to get a total of 18 electrons that Period 3 elements like Sulfur can hold in their valence shell. Keep in mind that we usually don't fill the 3d suborbital all the way, but it's still able to hold electrons.

Hope this helps!

isha dis3d
Posts: 101
Joined: Wed Sep 30, 2020 9:47 pm

Re: Sulfur Octet Exception

Postby isha dis3d » Mon Nov 02, 2020 1:23 pm

Just for further explanation, for atoms in the fourth period and beyond, higher d orbitals can be used for additional shared pairs beyond the octet. The energetic cost of using these higher orbitals to accommodate bonding electrons becomes smaller, as shown by the different atomic orbital energies.


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