How are the following similar, and how do they differ?
(a) σ molecular orbitals and π molecular orbitals
(b) bonding orbitals and antibonding orbitals
- Answer a
Similarities: Both are bonding orbitals that can contain a maximum of two electrons. Differences: σ orbitals are end-to-end combinations of atomic orbitals, whereas π orbitals are formed by side-by-side overlap of orbitals
- Answer b
Similarities: Both are orbitals that can contain two electrons. Differences: Bonding orbitals result in holding two or more atoms together. Antibonding orbitals have the effect of destabilizing any bonding that has occurred.
Can a molecule with an odd number of electrons ever be diamagnetic? Explain why or why not.
An odd number of electrons can never be paired, regardless of the arrangement of the molecular orbitals. It will always be paramagnetic.
Can a molecule with an even number of electrons ever be paramagnetic? Explain why or why not.
Yes, you could potentially have unpaired electrons in each orbital
Why are bonding molecular orbitals lower in energy than the parent atomic orbitals?
Bonding orbitals have electron density in close proximity to more than one nucleus. The interaction between the bonding positively charged nuclei and negatively charged electrons stabilizes the system.
Explain why an electron in the bonding molecular orbital in the H2 molecule has a lower energy than an electron in the 1s atomic orbital of either of the separated hydrogen atoms.
The pairing of the two bonding electrons lowers the energy of the system relative to the energy of the nonbonded electrons.
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Contributors and Attributions
Paul Flowers (University of North Carolina - Pembroke), Klaus Theopold (University of Delaware) and Richard Langley (Stephen F. Austin State University) with contributing authors. Textbook content produced by OpenStax College is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License 4.0 license. Download for free at http://cnx.org/contents/85abf193-2bd...firstname.lastname@example.org).
- Adelaide Clark, Oregon Institute of Technology
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