Hybridization and Molecular Orbitals Help!

Posted on September 10th, 2012

Confused about hybridization or molecular orbitals? Don’t be! The details can be very confusing, but don’t loose site of the overall big picture!

Many exams in organic chemistry courses and on standardized exams focus on a number of key concepts and actually don’t typically require that you completely understand the nuts and bolts of the topic.

For example, a very common exam question is regarding the sigma bonds (σ) and pi bonds (π) in molecules. Here we sum it up for you. If you are looking for some practice then sign-up at StudyOrgo.com and  check out our Molecular Orbitals, Hybridization and Geometry Exercise Set!

    1. Molecular orbital =overlap of two atomic orbitals from different atoms
    2. There are two types of bonds formed in molecular orbitals: sigma bonds and pi bonds.
    3. sigma bond (σ)= overlap of hybridized orbitals along the line between nuclei
      1. single bonds are sigma bonds
      2. double and triple bonds each have one sigma bond
    4. pi bond (π)= sideways overlap between two p orbitals
      1. double bonds have one pi bond
      2. triple bonds have two pi bonds
      3. there must be a sigma bond in order for a pi bond to occur
    5. Summary Chart
Bond Sigma bonds Pi bonds Total
Single 1 0 1
Double 1 1 2
Triple 1 2 3