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Thread: Electrons Can't Orbit AND Bond

  1. #1 Electrons Can't Orbit AND Bond 
    Forum Junior DivideByZero's Avatar
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    I don't understand how an electron can orbit around the nucleus and at the same time be able to bond with other atoms by sharing/donating electrons.

    The way I see it (see image below or click here http://img144.imageshack.us/img144/6043/crashhz9.jpg ):



    The repulsion of the electrons should lead to an eventual crash of the e- to the nucleus. They should only share e- or donate them in very rare occasions.

    Can anyone tell me why the electrons don't crash?


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  3. #2  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    quantum mechanics.


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  4. #3  
    Forum Junior DivideByZero's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    quantum mechanics.
    explain.
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  5. #4 Re: Electrons Can't Orbit AND Bond 
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Arenít those helium atoms? Of course helium atoms will not form bonds with each other or with other atoms. A helium atom has a stable outer shell of electrons and has no need to form bonds with other atoms.
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  6. #5 Re: Electrons Can't Orbit AND Bond 
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    Quote Originally Posted by JaneBennet
    Arenít those helium atoms? Of course helium atoms will not form bonds with each other or with other atoms. A helium atom has a stable outer shell of electrons and has no need to form bonds with other atoms.
    Sorry about that, it was a very bad choice of elements. Pretend both were Oxygen atoms and so they should combine (under the right circumstances) into Oxygen gas.

    I just want to know what keeps the electrons from crashing into the nucleus.
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  7. #6  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Quote Originally Posted by Ophiolite
    quantum mechanics.
    explain.
    Electrons can only possess discrete quanta of energy. This is why they do not radiate energy and spiral into the nucleus. I am sure there are some three thousand sites on the internet that explain it more clearly and convincingly than I.

    Google is your friend.
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  8. #7  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    As far as orbiting and bonding goes... when two atoms bond, their orbitals overlap, creating new molecular orbitals. For example, when two hydrogen atoms bond, their 1s orbitals overlap, creating a single molecular orbital. The two electrons now occupy this new orbital.
    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  9. #8  
    Forum Junior DivideByZero's Avatar
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    I understand orbits and I understand quanta. I understand how each element has its unique set of frequencies to excite an electron to a closer or further orbit and that those frequencies are sent in packets (quanta). I know that when two atoms bond their orbitals overlap.

    But when I ignore what I know about orbits and quantum mechanics, and just imagine a 3d space where I have a positively charged center with a negatively charged 'ball' orbiting rapidly around it, I just can't image the ball not crashing into the center with the existence of the numerous outside forces.

    There are billions of atoms in your room, now in the best case scenario, no electrons will crash into the nucleus due to an outside force. But doesn't it seem that with the presence of all those electrons, the atoms should all collapse because the electron's orbit around the nucleus will become unbalanced.

    I know this isn't the perfect example to deal with atoms but imagine earth with 3 moons. And now imagine that a dense asteroid blazes by and slightly disturbs the orbit of one of the moons. Through a chain reaction the moons will eventually either crash into each other or into the earth. Obviously electrons won't crash into each other but it seems very possible that they will crash into the nucleus.

    Please regard this post seriously as I would like an answer starting from the bottom up.
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  10. #9  
    Forum Freshman Neecze's Avatar
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    Obviously electrons won't crash into each other but it seems very possible that they will crash into the nucleus.
    You think about electrons in atom as they could be described in classical physics terms. Well, they couldn't.
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  11. #10  
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    DivideByZero, the problem is that the whole "electrons orbit the nucleus like planets around the sun" model is wrong, and is generally only taught to students in low-level highschool classes. If you keep taking chemistry or physics classes in college, you will learn about how electrons actually interact with a nucleus to form bonds.
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  12. #11  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    But when I ignore what I know about orbits and quantum mechanics, and just imagine a 3d space where I have a positively charged center with a negatively charged 'ball' orbiting rapidly around it, I just can't image the ball not crashing into the center with the existence of the numerous outside forces.
    .
    I think this is the problem. This is rather like saying "I understand about mid-ocean ridges and subduction zones, but when I ignore this I just don't understand how the continents can actually move." By excluding the solution to the problem you still have, not surprisingly, the problem.
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  13. #12  
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    Scifor Refugee, I said
    I know this isn't the perfect example to deal with atoms but...

    Ophiolite, I suppose you're right. I just can't get over the fact that the force of attraction between the two (electrons and nucleus) is so massively strong yet the electron continues to orbit even after a slight disturbance from an outside force.
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  14. #13  
    Universal Mind John Galt's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    I just can't get over the fact that the force of attraction between the two (electrons and nucleus) is so massively strong yet the electron continues to orbit even after a slight disturbance from an outside force.
    Neils Bohr said anyone who is not shocked by quantum theory does not understand it. So, you are in good company.
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  15. #14 Atomic electron structure - new Model 
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    When scientists started modeling molecules they found they had to "hybridize" their atomic model. They did this rather than "rethink". As a consequence, there are orbitals with two repelling e's (spin-pairing/reversal) intersecting in all sorts of places - hardly the total orthogonality set forth by those who did the modeling and those accept!

    If scientists had retought their atomic model, they would have come up something like the MCAS model which has 1e per orbital without spin reversal. QM treatment can be applied (FIT) to ANY model! It is what mathematics is all about. Making equations to fit the data and models!

    Think about the "octet" requirement. The s2 px2, py2, pz2 model does not come close to explaining it; it is easy envisioned with the MCAS 8-corner C4C4 model! The base model of the MCAS already has the necessary orbital configuration to explain why atoms fill to octets and why bonding occurs and does NOT need "hybridization". Bonding is complete electrostatic!

    See: www.swcp.com/~jmw-mcw
    Sometimes you need to rethink your starting position, even if it is widely accepted!
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  16. #15  
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    Quote Originally Posted by DivideByZero
    Ophiolite, I suppose you're right. I just can't get over the fact that the force of attraction between the two (electrons and nucleus) is so massively strong yet the electron continues to orbit even after a slight disturbance from an outside force.
    I think someone said it already, but the picture of the atom as negative electrons orbiting a positive nucleus in the same way the moon orbits the earth isn't accurate, and is only taught to younger people. Quantum mechanics is used to explain the situation properly. We don't actually know where the electron is at any point, and the orbital is actually just the space where the electron is most likely to be found. To understand it better you'd need to learn about the uncertainty principle.
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  17. #16  
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    If I was to create 3d atom orbit program using the mathematics of coulombs law, can I replicate the actions of electrons orbiting the nucleus?

    I've been teaching my self the Java 3D API so I can create a 3D planet orbit program but I can just as well modify it to be a 3D electron orbit program where I use coulombs law instead of the gravity formula.

    I want to replicate on my computer (don't worry about processing speed or anything) exactly how the electrons orbit.
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  18. #17  
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    I don't know anything about programing, so you might want to wait for someone else who can give you a more definitive answer, but my instinct would be to say that no, that's not possible. The electron doesn't actually orbit the nucleus in the same way as a planet does, it is just normally found in the space around the nucleus jumping from place to place randomly. Conventional newtonian mechanics aren't useful for describing things that are this small, and quantum mechanics is used instead. The electrons orbital doesn't exist in the same way as a satelites orbital does and you can ever predict where it will be found, in accordance with the uncertainity principle.

    Taking the example of the hydrogen atom as things get extremely complex with more electrons, quantum mechanics assigns the electron a wavefunction which describes the electrons orbital. From the wavefunction you can deduce the probability of finding the electron in a certain space. In the case of hydrogen this is a 1s orbital which means that the electron has a 90% chance of being found in anywhere within a sphere around the orbital, but could also be anywhere outside the sphere.

    http://www.bodensee-sternwarte.de/Ar..._01/sorbit.png

    Thats a 1s orbital.
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  19. #18  
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    Quote Originally Posted by farmboy
    I don't know anything about programing, so you might want to wait for someone else who can give you a more definitive answer, but my instinct would be to say that no, that's not possible. The electron doesn't actually orbit the nucleus in the same way as a planet does, it is just normally found in the space around the nucleus jumping from place to place randomly. Conventional newtonian mechanics aren't useful for describing things that are this small, and quantum mechanics is used instead. The electrons orbital doesn't exist in the same way as a satelites orbital does and you can ever predict where it will be found, in accordance with the uncertainity principle.

    Taking the example of the hydrogen atom as things get extremely complex with more electrons, quantum mechanics assigns the electron a wavefunction which describes the electrons orbital. From the wavefunction you can deduce the probability of finding the electron in a certain space. In the case of hydrogen this is a 1s orbital which means that the electron has a 90% chance of being found in anywhere within a sphere around the orbital, but could also be anywhere outside the sphere.
    According to your post, with which I largely agree, the electron does not orbit like a satellite so the solar system analogy is completely wrong. It is not possible to predict where it will be found and electron "spin" is different from spin outside of the quantum world.
    The electron, along with other sub atomic particles, really is a strange animal!
    I don't understand what it is but I am willing to accept that scientists know a fair bit about its behaviour. I have always been fascinated since reading that the best description was a mathematical point, occupying no space (zero volume) with no discernible internal structure.
    And that is probably totally wrong as well!
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  20. #19 Orbing Electrons 
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    Electrons that orbit around the nucleus should best be though of as a wave - this implies that the wavelength of the orbit is therefore quantized (the wave would cancel out over time if not of the exact correct 'phase'). Without some external force, the electron wants to stay in the correct orbital state which maintains the proper 'phase'. It can't shrink into the nucleus because the wavefront would then collapse. Another important concept to this question is the realization that the electron and proton in the nucleus is constantly exchanging force though photon interactions.
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  21. #20 MCAS model is a better model for the "uniform" dis 
    New Member JoMann's Avatar
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    DivideByZero

    If you want to create an atom orbit program using the mathematics of coulombs law, the MCAS model was created to emphasize the coulombic interactions and symmetrical spacial distribution of the orbitals.?
    Sometimes you need to rethink your starting position, even if it is widely accepted!
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  22. #21  
    Forum Sophomore oceanwave's Avatar
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    just wondering (since we're on the topic of electrons being in fixed orbitals and all), what are electrons when they are in / buzzing around the nucleus? Or let me phrase it more clearly:
    We all know that electrons are held in fixed orbits with a specified quantum of energy and that electrons have both wave and particle natures (dependent on the experiment used to exact its nature at that point in time) but the thing is, usually when electrons are "measured" or "checked out", they're outside the space of an atom and are alone. And if electrons really are waves, then in the orbital (which I know is the 90% Probability of finding in that space), what is the electron doing? Is it a wave like thingy that just occupies space or is it a particle that bounces from one place to another (inside its orbital) without any random objective or is it just there doing "nothing"? I know that this sounds kinda weird and all (and probably very confusing) but I just thought of it.
    Rephrase: An electron can be a wave or particle for all I care and all I want to find out is what form and action is it doing in its orbital. If its a wave, then its kinda hard to understand why it only occupies its own orbital and not beam all over the place and if its a particle then as its stuck to its orbital, what does it do inside it? buzz around? random motion?



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  23. #22  
    Forum Sophomore oceanwave's Avatar
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    And oh, another question (or point depends on how you look at it) is:

    In Young's Double Slit experiment, he first showed that electrons are 'wavelike' due to the pattern on the screen a distance from the source. And later on, others showed that electrons are 'particle-like' by placing a detector at each slit's opening and showed that there was only ONE source coming out (to summarize, the SAME experiment can both show that electrons are BOTH a particle AND a wave, which are dependent on how one conducts the experiment to confirm its nature - which is a fundamental irony of particle physics which states that what one intends to find, one will find it) and so, my erm...question/point is this:

    Taking the same scenario but 'replacing' the waves of an electron with water waves (think of the troughs and the crests), could it be possible that an electron is only a wave and NOT a particle. Why so? Firstly, draw a line, then draw a wave with a constant wavelength and frequency. Next, imagine you have a screen at the end of the wave's path (think of sea waves and the break-water being the detector at the end of the wave's path) you would then notice a pattern of waves/wave markings being recorded at the detector at the end thus proving that it really is a wave. Next, while this is going on, IF one takes a screen and places it at a certain spot, say the point where the detector just nicely touches the crest of the wave. The detector at this point would obviously show that the wave is a 'particle' due to only ONE point of contact (the point referring to the crest) and if another detector was placed at the point of the trough, the same result would also surface. Thus, the point I'm trying to make is this: Could the experiments have been "wrong" all along? Or better still, can anyone show me another experiment which shows that an electron is BOTH a wave and particle WITHIN the same experiment other than the one I've mentioned above?

    **Some notes for those clueless on Chemical Particle Physics: The Young double slit experiment was carried out waaaaay back in the 1910-20s (if I didn't remember wrongly) and what actually happened was a series of dots (note: DOTS *hint hint*) was registered on the screen/detector which seemed random at first. It later progressed into a wave like interference pattern which scientists then interpreted as electrons being waves. The guy who proved this won the Noble prize (i think). Please please correct any of the above data if its incorrect. Thanks all.
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  24. #23  
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    yeah the answer IS technically quantum physics but is fairly easy to understand, if not to explain


    the orbit around the nucleus that you see in diagrams that little circle thing? yeah that's a lie, what is actually closer (but possibly still not true) is that each orbit is composed of several orbitals the first shell has an S orbital, the second, and S and three P orbitals, the third 1S,3P's and 5D orbitals, and finally every shell from there on has 1S,3P's,5D's and 7F orbitals, Each of these Orbitals can hold 2 electrons, due to the fact the pair spin in opposite directions (it's the only way they can exist in the same orbital) so shell one can have 2 electrons, shell2 8, shell3 18, shell4+ 32

    ok got that? now for the really weird bit


    those shells are not where electrons ARE, they are the place a pair of electrons are most likely to be in, electrons can sometimes be found in these orbits but they fly all around and over the place and through the nucleus! without actually going through! because electrons can be seen on one side, then they appear on the other, with out ever actually going through the centre



    Now the reason for this is electrons in the little balls dont exist, electrons exist in much the same way gravity exists, we can feel, see and use it and we know it exists, but we can't actually pick it up or detect it the common description of electrons are simply used to symbolise their effect




    one final point that I dont get, and if anone can explain would be most grateful, Electrons exibit wave like effects, in other words they behave more like Gamma waves instead of Beta particles
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  25. #24  
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    The fundamental problem with thinking of electrons as moving around the nucleus, is that when electrons accelerate (make any turns), they are going to radiate photons. So we can't really think of the electrons as moving.

    I think the fundamental problem with saying 'think about the electron as a wave', is that it doesn't really mean anything (not to me anyway...). I mean the 1s orbital is a sphere of electron density, how can that really be described as a wave?

    To me, the best way to think of electrons in an atom, is to think of them as delocalized clouds. I think of electrons in atoms only in terms of electron density because the electrons aren't in one place or another around the nucleus, they just have a spread in there position...they are delocalized. What do you think about that description oceanwave (as a reply to your post on Sat Oct 04, 2008 6:10 am).

    For the question of 'why doesn't the electron fall into the nucleus?' I usually think about this way. I look at the placement of the electron density around the nucleus as a minimization of energy. Electrons in general, don't like to be pressed into small spaces (think about the particle in a box experiment where the energy raises as the box gets smaller and smaller), but the negatively charged electron clouds are attracted to the positively charged nucleus, so the electron density migrates to the volume that minimizes the energy.

    Booms, electrons are much better understood than gravity. I mean, we can make a beam of electrons, and detect when a single electron hits a detector. So we can detect the presence of electrons. However we can't detect any particle that causes gravitational forces (I don't think, correct me if I'm wrong).

    Oceanwave, I'm not sure what you are trying to get across by your discussion of placing detectors in the crest or the trough, but I just wanted to elaborate on the double slit experiment a bit. If you turn down the current of electrons through the double slit, such that you know only one electron passes through the slits at any given time, you STILL see the interference pattern on the wall. That means that the electron had to interfere with itself. That ultimately means that the electron had to go through both slits! Cool.
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  26. #25  
    Forum Sophomore oceanwave's Avatar
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    Hmm...this is weird...if the electrons arent moving then how can we not pin point the exact location of the electron in the orbital? i understand that we can only either know the location or the speed of the electron at any one time and not both so if the electrons dont really move, it doesn take all that much to figure out where it stands right? and if they really are buzzing around in the orbital, then they are sure to make turns (and produce photons) due to the need to remain in their respective orbital.

    concerning the double slit experiment, yea, i forgot about the part u mentioned too...hmm...electrons interfering with themselves? seems too deep for me to understand...i dont get how the electrons can interfere with themselves....maybe the material used to block/guide them to the slits are 'porous' hence allows the electrons to just pass through? after all, electrons being one of the smallest particles/waves in the known quantum physical universe should hardly be stopped by normal materials...

    How did they even direct the electrons to take a straight path? Or even allow only one electron through the slit each time? Was the interference pattern seen only after one electron or was it seen after many single electrons passing through only one slit made contact with the screen/detector?

    dont mind my questions and random thoughts, still unsure abt the quantum side of matter...
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