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When molecules are created, the way they share electrons messes with the shape of each atom's orbitals, and what ends up happening is that the orbitals "hybridize" to create molecular orbitals, rather than behaving the way they do with unbonded atoms. However, since we haven't really talked about it in lecture yet I wouldn't worry too much about it.
Hybridization is when 2 or more orbitals combine. For example, if a carbon has 4 bonds, all 4 of those bonds are the same. All the electrons cannot be in the same orbital, so in order for them to be equal, the orbitals have to hybridize.
In lecture today, Lavelle did an example concerning CH4 and its hybridization. I'm confused as to why the structure is "better explained" by mixing one 2s and three 2p orbitals to form four equivalent sp3 orbitals. What exactly does it mean to "mix" orbitals and why does it happen?
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