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Thread: A question about orbitals

  1. #1 A question about orbitals 
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    I know orbitals are mathematical probability functions dictating the "possible" location of the electron within a spherical like area of space around the atom. But I'm trying to visualize it.

    Does each lobe represent an individual orbital as shown in this picture(Sorry notepad)->
    http://i987.photobucket.com/albums/a.../Orbitals2.png

    or

    Is it the whole object that is considered an orbital -> http://i987.photobucket.com/albums/a.../Orbitals3.png

    Thank you


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  3. #2  
    Moderator Moderator AlexP's Avatar
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    Those pictures resemble p orbitals...and in that case, a pair of lobes would represent an orbital, with all three pairs together (oriented in three orthogonal directions) representing a subshell within a shell.


    "There is a kind of lazy pleasure in useless and out-of-the-way erudition." -Jorge Luis Borges
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  4. #3  
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlexP
    Those pictures resemble p orbitals...and in that case, a pair of lobes would represent an orbital, with all three pairs together (oriented in three orthogonal directions) representing a subshell within a shell.
    A pair of lobes...in one direction? Like x or y or z (cartesian coordinates)?

    And if all 3 pairs together in each direction are a subshell within a shell...what is the larger shell? Would it be a 3s orbital for example?
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    Forum Freshman fratze's Avatar
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    To digress a bit, is the electron held to the atom by the latters gravitational pull or the protons positive charge?
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  6. #5  
    Forum Freshman scishark's Avatar
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    The whole object is called an orbital, whilst individual shapes are called lobes.

    Please also keep in mind where the nodes are (in your diagram its where the atom is) as this signifies areas where there are not electron density

    Also remember lobes have signs (this is important when considering overlapping)
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