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Can someone please explain the difference between axial lone pairs and equatorial lone pairs to me? How can you tell what type of lone pair a given molecule has?
Hey Nikki, the best way to think about it is like the equator on the Earth. If you imagine a molecule with the central atom as the center of the earth, the equatorial atoms or lone pairs lie on the horizontal plane through the middle, just like the equator. The axial atoms or lone pairs lie on the vertical plane through the middle, like the north and south poles for earth. When deciding what type of lone pair a given molecule, look at the bond angles and try to keep the lone pair as far away from as many atoms or other lone pairs as possible. Then based on where it is, you can figure out if it is equatorial or axial :) hope that helps
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