Carbon is one of the most important nonmetallic elements found in nature. It is a chemical element that is important to establish biological connections in the ecosystem. Atoms of some elements have the property of orbital hybridization, which is the mixing of atomic orbitals to form new hybrid orbitals. Carbon atoms possess this property and hence have the tendency to form different structures and have various properties by hybridization of orbitals. In fact, when it comes to carbon, several types of hybridization are possible.
Usually, the s and p orbitals of the second shell in carbon combine together to turn into a hybridized form. Interestingly carbon can form different compounds by using different hybridizations.
Let us take a look at the various common hybridization types exhibited by carbon and their geometry.
Hybridization Types in Carbon
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At ground state, the electronic configuration of carbon is 1s 2 2s 2 2p 2
Moreover, experimental evidence says that at ground state it possesses 2 unpaired electrons in its 2p orbitals.
Now we will look at the hybridization states of Carbon.
Sp Hybridization of Carbon
When a carbon atom is bound to two other atoms with the help of two double bonds or one single and one triple bond, it can be in sp hybridization state. During the hybridization in the sp state, the molecules have a linear arrangement of the atoms with a bond angle of 180°.
Chemical bonds in alkynes that have triple bonds can be explained on the basis of sp hybridization. 2s orbital mixes with only one of the three p orbitals giving two sp orbitals and two remaining p orbitals. This results in sp hybridization. For example, sp hybridization of CO₂.
In this type of hybridization, bonding takes place between 1 s-orbital with two p orbitals. Two single bonds and one double bond between three atoms form and the hybrid orbitals come together in a triangular arrangement. With 120° angles between bonds.
Example- Sp2 Hybridization of Graphite.
In sp3 hybridization, the carbon atom is bonded to four other atoms. In this case, 1 s orbital and 3 p orbitals in the same shell of an atom combine to form four new equivalent orbitals. The arrangement of orbitals is tetrahedral with a bond angle of 109.5°.