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# What is Hybridization? and also what is sp3 & sp2 hybridization? Plz explain it..............

Ashwin Sinha
520 Points
9 years ago

Dear Hasan Ali,

In chemistry, hybridisation (or hybridization) is the concept of mixing atomic orbitals to form new hybrid orbitals suitable for the qualitative description of atomic bonding properties. Hybridised orbitals are very useful in the explanation of the shape of molecular orbitals for molecules. It is an integral part of valence bond theory. Although sometimes taught together with the valence shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) theory, valence bond and hybridization are in fact not related to the VSEPR model.

Hybridisation theory is not as practical for quantitative calculations as molecular orbital theory. Problems with hybridisation are especially notable when the d orbitals are involved in bonding, as in coordination chemistry and organometallic chemistry. Although hybridisation schemes in transition metal chemistry can be used, they are not generally as accurate.

Orbitals are a model representation of the behaviour of electrons within molecules. In the case of simple hybridisation, this approximation is based on atomic orbitals, similar to those obtained for the hydrogen atom, the only atom for which an exact analytic solution to itsSchrödinger equation is known. In heavier atoms, like carbon, nitrogen, and oxygen, the atomic orbitals used are the 2s and 2p orbitals, similar to excited state orbitals for hydrogen. Hybridised orbitals are assumed to be mixtures of these atomic orbitals, superimposed on each other in various proportions. The theory of hybridisation is most applicable under these assumptions. It gives a simple orbital picture equivalent to Lewis structures. Hybridisation is not required to describe molecules, but for molecules made up from carbon, nitrogen andoxygen (and to a lesser extent, sulfur and phosphorus) the hybridisation theory/model makes the description much easier.

The hybridisation theory finds its use mainly in organic chemistry. Its explanation starts with the way bonding is organized in methane.

### sp3 hybrids

Hybridisation describes the bonding atoms from an atom's point of view. That is, for a tetrahedrally coordinated carbon (e.g., methane, CH4), the carbon should have 4 orbitals with the correct symmetry to bond to the 4 hydrogen atoms. The problem with the existence of methane is now this: carbon's ground state configuration is 1s2 2s2 2px1 2py1 or more easily read:

$C\quad \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{1s}\; \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{2s}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p_x}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p_y}\; \frac{\,\,}{2p_z}$

The valence bond theory would predict, based on the existence of two half-filled p-type orbitals (the designations px py or pz are meaningless at this point, as they do not fill in any particular order), that C forms two covalent bonds, i.e., CH2 (methylene). However, methylene is a very reactive molecule (see also: carbene) and cannot exist outside of a molecular system. Therefore, this theory alone cannot explain the existence of CH4.

Furthermore, ground state orbitals cannot be used for bonding in CH4. While exciting a 2s electron into a 2p orbital would, in theory, allow for four bonds according to the valence bond theory, (which has been proved experimentally correct for systems like O2) this would imply that the various bonds of CH4 would have differing energies due to differing levels of orbital overlap. Once again, this has been experimentally disproved: any hydrogen can be removed from a carbon with equal ease.

To summarise, to explain the existence of CH4 (and many other molecules) a method by which as many as 12 bonds (for transition metals) of equal strength (and therefore equal length) was required.

The first step in hybridisation is the excitation of one (or more) electrons (we consider the carbon atom in methane, for simplicity of the discussion):

$C^{*}\quad \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{1s}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{2s}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p_x} \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p_y} \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p_z}$

The proton that forms the nucleus of a hydrogen atom attracts one of the lower-energy valence electrons on carbon. This causes an excitation, moving a 2s electron into a 2p orbital. This, however, increases the influence of the carbon nucleus on the valence electrons by increasing the effective core potential (the amount of charge the nucleus exerts on a given electron = Charge of Core − Charge of all electrons closer to the nucleus). The effective core potential is also known as the effective nuclear charge, or Zeff.

The solution to the Schrödinger equation for this configuration is a linear combination of the s and p wave functions, or orbitals, known as a hybridized orbital. In the case of carbon attempting to bond with four hydrogens, four orbitals are required. Therefore, the 2s orbital (core orbitals are almost never involved in bonding) "mixes" with the three 2p orbitals to form four sp3 hybrids (read as s-p-three). See graphical summary below.

becomes $C^{*}\quad \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{1s}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^3}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^3} \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^3} \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^3}$

In CH4, four sp3 hybridised orbitals are overlapped by hydrogen's 1s orbital, yielding four σ (sigma) bonds (that is, four single covalent bonds). The four bonds are of the same length and strength. This theory fits our requirements.

An alternative view is: View the carbon as the C4− anion. In this case all the orbitals on the carbon are filled:

$C^{4-}\quad \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{1s}\; \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{2s}\; \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{2p_x} \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{2p_y} \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{2p_z}$

If we now recombine these orbitals with the empty s-orbitals of 4 hydrogens (4 protons, H+) and allow maximum separation between the 4 hydrogens (i.e., tetrahedral surrounding of the carbon), we see that at any orientation of the p-orbitals, a single hydrogen has an overlap of 25% with the s-orbital of the C, and a total of 75% of overlap with the 3 p-orbitals (see that the relative percentages are the same as the character of the respective orbital in an sp3-hybridisation model, 25% s- and 75% p-character).

According to the orbital hybridisation theory, the valence electrons in methane should be equal in energy but its photoelectron spectrum shows two bands, one at 12.7 eV (one electron pair) and one at 23 eV (three electron pairs). This apparent inconsistency can be explained when one considers additional orbital mixing taking place when the sp3 orbitals mix with the 4 hydrogen orbitals.

### Other carbon based compounds and other molecules may be explained in a similar way as methane. Take, for example, ethene (C2H4). Ethene has a double bond between the carbons.

For this molecule, carbon will sp2 hybridise, because one π (pi) bond is required for the double bond between the carbons, and only three σ bonds are formed per carbon atom. In sp2 hybridisation the 2s orbital is mixed with only two of the three available 2p orbitals:

$C^{*}\quad \frac{\uparrow\downarrow}{1s}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^2}\; \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^2} \frac{\uparrow\,}{sp^2} \frac{\uparrow\,}{2p}$

forming a total of 3 sp2 orbitals with one p-orbital remaining. In ethylene (ethene) the two carbon atoms form a σ bond by overlapping two sp2 orbitals and each carbon atom forms two covalent bonds with hydrogen by ssp2 overlap all with 120° angles. The π bond between the carbon atoms perpendicular to the molecular plane is formed by 2p–2p overlap. The hydrogen–carbon bonds are all of equal strength and length, which agrees with experimental data.

The amount of p-character is not restricted to integer values; i.e., hybridisations like sp2.5 are also readily described. In this case the geometries are somewhat distorted from the ideally hybridised picture. For example, as stated in Bent's rule, a bond tends to have higher p-character when directed toward a more electronegative substituent.

Please feel free to post as many doubts on our discussion forum as you can.
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All the best…………

Regards,
Ashwin

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Sachendra Kumar
34 Points
9 years ago
Hybridisation: It is an intermixing process in which 2 or more atomic orbitals intermix togrther to produce a set of new orbitals n which are called hybridised orbital and this phenonmemon is called hybridisation sp2 : it is intermixing takes palce in S,Px, and Py, orbitals are formed this is called sp2 sp3 : it is intermixing takes place in S,Px,Py and Pz orbitals are formed this is called sp3