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Steric Strain

  • Page ID
    42958
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    Steric strain is the increase in potential energy of a molecule due to repulsion between electrons in atoms that are not directly bonded to each other.

    eg: Consider two staggered conformations of 1,2-dibromoethane:

    stericstrain.png

    In 1, the bromine atoms are closer to each other than they are in 2. (in 1, the dihedral angle between the bromine atoms is 60º; in 2, it is 180º.) Thus, the repulsion between electrons in one bromine atom and those in the other is greater in 1 than in 2. Thus, steric strain is greater in 1 than in 2. (Since the bromine atoms are pointing in opposite directions in 2, there is no steric strain in 2 due to interaction between the bromine atoms.)

    see also torsional strain, angle strain, steric hindrance


    This page titled Steric Strain is shared under a All Rights Reserved (used with permission) license and was authored, remixed, and/or curated by Gamini Gunawardena via source content that was edited to the style and standards of the LibreTexts platform; a detailed edit history is available upon request.

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