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The orbitals forming a sigma bond overlap end to end. Just imagine 2 dumbbells flat on the floor, with one of their ends completely merged together. The orbitals forming a pi bond overlap side to side. Just imagine 2 dumbbells standing side by side on the floor, with each of their ends touching each other. Obviously, there is more overlapping in a sigma bond, so it is stronger than a pi bond.
Lizette Noriega 1H wrote:If the orbitals that form sigma bonds overlap more than the pi bonds, how is it that sigma bonds can rotate and have more flexibility than the pi bonds?
Sigma bonds overlap in a different way. Use the dumbbell example I mentioned above. If 2 dumbbells are merged together on one end (like orbitals in a sigma bond), you can obviously rotate them. However, if 2 dumbbells are standing side by side with each end touching the other (like orbitals in a pi bond), rotating on dumbbell would cause the ends to detach from the ends of the other dumbbell.
The overlap of a pi bond is less than that of a sigma bond. However the sigma bond only overlaps at one area, whereas the pi bond overlaps at two. So because the pi bond overlaps at two areas, it cannot turn and thus keep the molecule in position.
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