Homework Help

Why are p-orbitals called degenerate orbitals?

rocky.goyal's profile pic

Posted via web

dislike 2 like

Why are p-orbitals called degenerate orbitals?

1 Answer | Add Yours

ncchemist's profile pic

Posted (Answer #1)

dislike 1 like

Electron orbitals that have the same energy level are said to be degenerate orbitals.  Since p orbitals have an azimuthal quantum number of 1, this means that there are three different p orbitals available for electrons (-1,0,+1).  These three p orbitals are degenerate, meaning they all have exactly the same energy value.  This is important to know when assigning electrons to orbitals because the p orbitals are all filled completely with a total of 6 electrons before moving on to higher energy orbitals.  The filling up of electron orbitals from lowest energy to highest energy is the reasoning behind the Aufbau principle.

Sources:

Join to answer this question

Join a community of thousands of dedicated teachers and students.

Join eNotes