Meredith92

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Aug 29, 2012
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In TBR gen chem chapter 2 it says "the smaller the atomic radius the shorter the bond it forms when sharing electrons with another atom. shorter bonds are stronger bonds..."

For some reason, I'm getting this confused with the concept of orbital overlap. Wouldnt it be better if you had two atoms with very large radii so you would get maximum overlap? This would create a stronger bond because there is a greater area for the shared electrons.

Can someone clarify this concept? Thank you
 

Trayshawn

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Feb 11, 2012
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There'd be overlap in both.

While there may a larger area of overlap between large atoms, there is also a larger total area for such atoms. Thus, the overlap relative to the overall size of the atoms (kinda like the percent of total atom area involved in the overlap) should be roughly equal in simple cases.

What you should consider rather is the proximity of the electrons to the nuclei. In smaller atoms, the electrons can get pretty close to the two nuclei thus creating a higher electrostatic force and a stronger bond.
 

stevvo111

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Dec 21, 2010
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Medical Student
There'd be overlap in both.

While there may a larger area of overlap between large atoms, there is also a larger total area for such atoms. Thus, the overlap relative to the overall size of the atoms (kinda like the percent of total atom area involved in the overlap) should be roughly equal in simple cases.

What you should consider rather is the proximity of the electrons to the nuclei. In smaller atoms, the electrons can get pretty close to the two nuclei thus creating a higher electrostatic force and a stronger bond.
What he said ^^, although he said it in a super technical way.

Easy way to think about it is to think about magnets. When you have them far apart, they are weakly attracted and you can easily move them around. The closer you put them together, the harder it is to pull them apart and move them around freely. Same with atoms. Closer and smaller, the stronger. The forces involved are electrostatic, but still same general idea.