How to Draw Shapes of Orbitals

Let's learn about the shapes of atomic orbitals in this video lesson.

1. s orbitals

There is only 1 s orbital in each s subshell.

Shape of s orbital is spherical and non-directional.

Size of s orbital increases as principal quantum number n increases.

230313 s orbital

2. p orbitals

There are 3 p orbitals in each p subshell, namely npx, npy and npz orbitals.

The orbitals are dumb-bell shaped or look like the number 8 or infinity sign ∞.

npx lies along the x-axis, npy along the y-axis and npz along the z-axis.

Orbitals in the same subshell are degenerate or have the same energy.

Size of p orbital increases as n increases.

230313 p orbital

3. d orbitals

Each d subshell has 5 degenerate orbitals, namely ndxy, ndyz, ndxz, ndx2-y2 and ndz2

Shape of ndxy, ndyz, ndxz and ndx2-y2 is cloverleaf shape with 4 loops or butterfly shaped.

Shape of ndz2 is dumb-bell shape with a ring around its centre.

ndxy lies on the xy plane, ndxz on the xz plane and ndyz on the yz plane, but they are not along the axis.

ndx2-y2 lies directly along the x and y axis.

ndz2 lies directly along the z axis.

Remember the orbitals with a square term (ndx2-y2 and ndz2) will be lying directly along the axis.

230313 d orbital

Topic: Atomic Structure, Physical Chemistry, A Level Chemistry, Singapore

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