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Hybridization and Molecular Geometry

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There is a simple relationship between the hybridization of an atom and its geometry, i.e., the way or ways in which other atoms can be disposed about it in space. This page examines the allowed bonding patterns for the representative elements B,C,N,O, and F, as well as their geometries as a function of their hybridization and formal charge.

Strongly Related Topics

Somewhat Related Topics

Glossary Terms
  • allylic
  • benzylic
  • bond angle
  • conjugation
  • formal charge
  • hybrid orbital
  • lone pair electrons
  • pi bond
  • resonance
  • sp orbital
  • sp2 orbital
  • sp3 orbital
  • Title

    Hybridization and Molecular Geometry

    On a test, you will have to answer questions such as these:

    Self-test question #1

    Indicate the hybridization of each carbon in 1,2-butadiene, shown below.


    Self-test question #2

    Give the shape name (geometry) for the carbon atoms in each of the following species:


    Questions like these are easy if you recognize that the arrangement of bonds around a particular atom, the hybridization of that atom, and the geometry of the atom are all interrelated. Before starting to show how, though, be sure you recognize what the legitimate bonding patterns around any given atom are (see table below), and be sure you understand why these (and no others!) are permissible.

    Related reading in textbook (McMurry, Organic Chemistry, 4th ed.)

    Related Computer-based Materials

    Links To Related Internet Resources

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    This page was prepared by Anthony Carado of the Penn State University, Schuylkill Campus, Spring 1996-Fall 1997

    Send questions, comments, or suggestions to:
    Dr. Thomas H. Eberlein
    Copyright © 1996 Thomas H. Eberlein

    Version 1.1.7, 3/17/97