Describe the process of orbitals hybridization as applied to carbon. You must include information on orbitals used and produced and the symmetry of compounds expected from the different types of...

Describe the process of orbitals hybridization as applied to carbon. You must include information on orbitals used and produced and the symmetry of compounds expected from the different types of hybiridization.

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ncchemist | eNotes Employee

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Hybridized electron orbitals are individual valence shell orbitals that mix together in difference ways to create more uniform orbitals for chemical bonding purposes.  The classic and most common example is with carbon.  Carbon has four valence shell orbitals (2s^2 and 2p^2) that can hybridize in one of three different ways.

The first is called sp3 hybridization.  This is where one of the 2s electrons goes to the empty 2p orbital, this giving four unpaired electrons.  These electron orbitals then hybridize into 4 sp3 orbitals that have 75% p character and 25% s character.  These orbitals can each form a single bond, this giving the bonded carbon a tetrahedral shape with bond angles of 109.5 degrees.  Methane (CH4) is an example of sp3 carbon.

The second is called sp2 hybridization.  This is where one of the s electrons and two of the p electrons hybridize to form 3 sp2 orbitals with one leftover p orbital.  The sp2 orbitals form a trigonal planar shape with bond angles of 120 degrees with the p orbital protruding above and below the plane of the sp2 orbitals.  Orbitals of this type produce two single bonds and one double bond.  Ethylene (H2C=CH2) is an example of an sp2 hydridized carbon.

The third is called sp hybridization.  This is where one of the s electrons and one of the p electrons hybridize to form 2 sp orbitals with two leftover p orbitals.  The sp orbitals form a linear shape with bond angles of 180 degrees and the two p orbitals are at right angles to each other.  Orbitals of this type produce one single bond and one triple bond.  Acetylene (`HC-=CH`) is an example of an sp hydridized carbon.

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