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GCHEM: Shells vs Orbitals

Discussion in 'MCAT Study Question Q&A' started by basketballakev, Dec 18, 2008.

  1. basketballakev

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    Can anyone please explain to me the difference between shells and orbitals? I'm just a bit confused after reviewing Atomic Theory. Also, are shells within orbitals? Thanks a lot!
     
  2. G1SG2

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    Shells-->subshells-->orbitals-->spin number

    Shells are the energy levels. The shells have subshells, which in turn have atomic orbitals. The orbitals are within the subshell. The azimuthal quantum numbers s, p, d and f designate the subshells. Consider the p subshell. It has 3 orbitals: px, py and pz. Each orbital can hold a total of 2 electrons, making 6 the total number of electrons a p subshell can house. The d subshell has 5 orbitals, and can hold a total number of ten electrons. The f subshell has 7 orbitals, and can house a total number of 14 electrons. Think of a shell as a neighborhood, a subshell as a house, and the orbitals as the different bedrooms within the house where the electrons stay. Hope this helps.
     
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  3. futuredoctor10

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    Great response!
     
  4. basketballakev

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    Yes indeed! Thanks a lot!
     

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