Problem: Does it matter which of the two sp3 hybrid orbitals are used to hold the two nonbonding electron pairs?

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We are asked about the placement of the nonbonding electron pairs in the sp3 hybrid orbitals of oxygen in H2O


Hybridization is when the s and p orbitals combine to form a hybrid orbital for covalent bonding.


In the process of combining the orbitals, the lower energy orbitals are promoted to higher energy while the higher energy orbitals are demoted to lower energy.

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Problem Details

Does it matter which of the two sp3 hybrid orbitals are used to hold the two nonbonding electron pairs?

In H2O, there is a tetrahedral arrangement of the four sp3 hybrid orbitals about oxygen, with two O sp3 orbitals containing nonbonding pairs and two O-H single bonds.


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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Hybridization concept. You can view video lessons to learn Hybridization. Or if you need more Hybridization practice, you can also practice Hybridization practice problems.

What professor is this problem relevant for?

Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Banks' class at NCSU.