Learning ObjectiveExplain the procedure of hybridization together it applies to the formation of sp3 hybridized atoms.

You are watching: When a carbon atom has sp3 hybridization


Key PointsThe bonds in a methane (CH4) molecule are created by four separate but equivalent orbitals; a single 2s and also three 2p orbitals the the carbon hybridize into 4 sp3 orbitals.In the ammonia molecule (NH3), 2s and also 2p orbitals produce four sp3hybrid orbitals, one of which is populated by a lone pair the electrons.In a water molecule, two sp3 hybrid orbitals are occupied by the 2 lone pairs on the oxygen atom, if the various other two bond with hydrogen.
Termtetravalenthaving a valence that 4

In a tetravalent molecule, 4 outer atoms room bonded to a central atom. Possibly the many common and also important instance of this bond kind is methane, CH4. In the soil state of the complimentary carbon atom, there room two unpaired electrons in different 2p orbitals. To type four bonds, the atom should have four unpaired electrons; this requires that carbon’s valence 2s and 2p orbitals each contain an electron for bonding.

The single 2s orbital is spherical, different from the dumbbell-shaped 2p orbitals. This would suggest that among the 4 bonds different from the other three, but scientific tests have actually proven the all four bonds have actually equal length and energy; this is as result of the hybridization that carbon’s 2s and also 2p valence orbitals.

MethaneThe methane molecule has four equal bonds.

In hybridization, carbon’s 2s and also three 2p orbitals combine into 4 identical orbitals, now called sp3 hybrids.

The bonds in between carbon and also hydrogen can kind the backbone the very facility and extensive chain hydrocarbon molecules. The easiest of these is ethane (C2H6), in i beg your pardon an sp3 orbital on each of the two carbon atoms joins (overlaps) to form a carbon-carbon bond; then, the staying carbon sp3 orbital overlaps with six hydrogen 1s orbitals to type the ethane molecule.

EthaneEthane can form by replacing among the hydrogen atoms in CH4 with another sp3 hybridized carbon fragment.

If lone electron bag are current on the main atom, thet deserve to occupy one or much more of the sp3 orbitals. For example, in the ammonia molecule, the 4th of the sp3 hybrid orbitals on the nitrogen consists of the two remaining outer-shell electrons, which type a non-bonding lone pair.

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In the water molecule, the oxygen atom can form four sp3 orbitals. 2 of this are populated by the two lone bag on the oxygen atom, if the various other two are provided for bonding. The it was observed H-O-H bond angle in water (104.5°) is less than the tetrahedral angle (109.5°); one explanation for this is that the non-bonding electrons tend to continue to be closer to the central atom and thus exert higher repulsion on the various other orbitals, advertise the two bonding orbitals closer together.


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