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Hybrid Orbitals and sp3 Hybridization Examples

SECTION 9 - Covalent Bonding and Molecular Orbitals

Earlier in General Chemistry, we discussed "Atomic Orbitals" (2s, 3p, 4s, 6f, etc).

Orbital  =  the probability of finding an electron in a particular region of space.

Atomic orbitals can hybridize into new "hybrid orbitals" when they undergo hybridization...


Hybridization of the Central Atom

Hybridization  =  a procedure in which standard atomic orbitals are combined to form new, hybrid orbitals.

Hybridization occurs when an atom's atomic orbitals (1s, 2s, 2p, 3d, etc.) "mix" with the other atom's atomic orbitals to form new, special hybrid orbitals used for bonding.

This is referred to as the "Localized Electron Model."


Types of Hybridization

Types of Hybridization - these are the five hybrid orbitals:



sp3 hybridization

We'll use methane (CH4) as an example.

First, let's examine an isolated carbon atom...

CH4 Electron Configuration

From above, we can see that an isolated carbon atom's valence atomic orbitals are the 2s and the 2p atomic orbitals.

Because the 2s and 2p atomic orbitals on an isolated carbon atom are not ideal for bonding, they undergo hybridization:

Formation of sp3 Hybrid Orbitals

This hybridization makes sense.


sp3 hybridization of Carbon

It's fair to think that carbon makes 4 equivalent bonds, arranged tetrahedrally:

sp3 Hybridization of Carbon

Whenever a set of equivalent tetrahedral atomic orbitals is required by an atom (i.e. carbon), the atom adopts a set of sp3 orbitals.

The atom becomes sp3-hybridized.


Next up, my 2nd video on SECTION 9 - Covalent Bonding and Molecular Orbitals

sp2-hybridization and the other types of hybrid orbitals.