|When atoms share electrons the s, p, d and f orbitals of the atoms change
shape and become directed into the regions between atoms. Perhaps I should say they become
pointed at the other atoms so that the electrons will be in the right place to be shared
with the other atoms. This process is called hybridization of the orbitals. We won't dwell
on the hybridization process in this lesson. We will, however, lump together all of the
valence electrons and not worry about whether they came from s, p, d or f atomic orbitals.
For nonmetals this generally means we are only concerned about the valence electrons, the
s and p electrons in the highest energy level. The diagram here shows atomic (s and p)
orbitals on the left and hybrid orbitals made from them on the right.
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©1998, 2002 Clackamas Community College, Hal Bender