Problem: Formation of sp3 hybrid orbitals.Which of the p orbitals do you think contributes the most in the mixing that leads to the right-most sp3 hybrid orbital in the second row of the figure?

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The sp3 orbital that the problem is pertaining to is the one shown below:


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An s orbital appears as a sphere centered on the x y z axes.  Each of the three p orbitals appears as two egg-shaped balloons connected end-to-end, centered on the x y z origin.  The p x orbital lies on the x-axis, the p y orbital is on the y-axis, and the p z orbital is on the z-axis. The one s and three p orbitals hybridize to form four sp3 hybrid orbitals.  Each hybrid appears as a small egg-shaped lobe attached to a large egg-shaped lobe.  Each sp3 hybrid is arranged toward a different point of a pyramid, which when shown together (large lobes only) appears as four lobes in the shape of a pyramid, separated by 109.5 degree angles.

Formation of sp3 hybrid orbitals.


Which of the p orbitals do you think contributes the most in the mixing that leads to the right-most sp3 hybrid orbital in the second row of the figure?

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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 Orbital Overlap concept. If you need more Orbital Overlap practice, you can also practice Orbital Overlap practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Howell's class at OSU.