Types of Orbital Hybridizations in Organic Chemistry

The behaviour of electrons in a molecule can be represented via orbital models. Hybrid orbitals can be assumed to be a mixture of overlying atomic orbitals which are superimposed in various proportions. Methane, for example, exhibits an sp3 hybridization where the carbon-hydrogen bond consists of 25% s orbital characteristics and 75% p orbital characteristics. Here’s an overview of the different types of orbital hybridizations in organic chemistry.

sp3 hybridization

This type of hybridization refers to the hybridization of an s orbital with three p orbitals (p orbitals of each axis- px, py, and pz). The total number of hybrid orbitals formed here is 4. The number of atoms bonded to the carbon is also 4. The geometry for sp3 hybridization can be represented by a tetrahedral structure. The bond angle in this type of hybridization is 109.50.

sp2 hybridization

This type of hybridization refers to the hybridization of two s orbitals with two p orbitals (px and py). Three hybrid orbitals are formed here since there are three atoms bonded to the carbon. The bond angle between the orbitals is 1200. It consists of 67% p characteristics and 33% s characteristic. The geometry for sp2 hybridization can be represented by a flat triangular structure.

sp hybridization

In this type of hybridization, an s orbital and one p orbital combine together to make two hybrid orbitals. The bond angle between the orbitals is 1800, therefore the hybrid orbitals form a straight line and are opposite one other from the centre of the carbon atom. The carbon atom in this type of hybridization is bonded to two other atoms. The geometry for sp hybridization can be represented by a linear structure.

To conclude, the concept of hybridization can be used to explain molecular structure. Many intermediates formed in named reactions have their molecular structures explained via orbital hybridization. To learn more about orbital hybridization, visit:

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