Hybridization of Graphite

Graphite Hybridization

How do you calculate the hybridization of graphite when it is an allotrope of atoms? If we look at the hybridization of graphite formula, then we can only find the carbon atoms. Graphite is also classified as an organic compound. Given all the factors, we will discuss the hybridization of graphite or graphite hybridization, ‘What is Hybridization’, ‘What is Hybridization of Graphite’, ‘Hybridization of Diamond’, ‘Graphite Bond Angles’ and ‘Molecular Geometry’, etc.

Name of the Molecule


Molecular Formula


Type of Hybridization


Bong angle



Trigonal Planar

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What is Hybridization?

Hybridization occurs when atomic orbitals are mixed to form new atomic orbitals. The new atomic orbitals hold a similar number of electrons as the previous ones. The energy and the features of new hybridized orbitals are an 'average' of the original unhybridized orbitals. The idea of hybridization was introduced because it was a good reason for the fact that all C-H bonds in molecules like methane are similar.


What is Hybridization of Graphite?

The type of hybridization of graphite is sp². The general electronic configuration of carbon is 1s², 2s², and 2p², where four valence electrons are laid out in the s and p orbitals. During the process of Hybridization, the 's' orbitals combine with the 'p' orbitals to form the type of hybridization, i.e., sp². In graphite, each carbon atom will form a covalent bond with the other three carbon atoms. The hybridized atoms are arranged hexagonally in various layers. Hence, the graphite has different properties because they have layers of weak forces between them.

Hybridization of Carbon in Graphite

The type of hybridization of carbon in graphite is sp².

Moreover, each carbon atom includes one non-bonded outer electron which becomes delocalized.

Graphite Formula in Chemistry

The graphite formula in Chemistry is C. It is the chemical formula of Graphite that represents the ratio or positions of elements in the graphical structure.

Bond Angle of Graphite

Graphite also is known as black lead or plumbago is an allotrope of a particular crystalline form of carbon. The array of carbon atoms in graphite is significantly distinct from that in the diamond. In Graphite, each carbon atom is covalently linked to another atom. All the bond angles of graphite are 120⁰ which is expected only if three bonding pairs of electrons are surrounded by each other.

Hybridization of Diamond

The electronic configuration of carbon is 1s², 2s², and 2p², i.e., with four valence electrons laid out in ‘s’ and ‘p’ orbitals. Keeping in view to create covalent bonds in diamond, the ‘s’ orbital combines with three other ‘p’ orbitals to form sp³. Hence, the four valence electrons are uniformly distributed among the sp³ orbitals where each orbital points to one of the four corners of the tetrahedron. The tetrahedral structure of diamond along with the highest measured charge density gives stability and strength to bond. Hence, all the bonds in a diamond are of similar length (1.54⁰A) and similar bond angles (109.47⁰).

Important Points to Remember

  • The ‘s’ orbital combines with the ‘p’ orbital to form sp² hybrid orbital in the Hybridization.

  • Each carbon atom is combined with another three atoms by the covalent bond.

  • The carbon atoms form layers with a hexagonal order of atoms.

Graphite Bond Angles and Molecular Geometry

The molecular geometry of graphite is a trigonal planar with a bond angle of 120⁰. The three bonds linked with each carbon atom in graphite inclined to move far away to reduce repulsion between the electron pair that falls at the vertices of a triangle.

FAQs (Frequently Asked Questions)

1. What is sp² Hybridization?

Answer: Sp² hybridization is examined when one ‘s’ orbital combines with another two ‘p’ orbitals of the similar shell of an atom combined to generate 3 equivalent orbitals. The new orbital which is formed is known as SP² hybrid orbital.

  • Trigonal hybridization is another name of sp² hybridization.

  • It includes the combination of one 's' orbital with two other 'p' orbitals of similar energy to form new hybrid orbitals known as sp².

  • A combination of s and p orbital formed in trigonal symmetry makes an angle of 120 degrees.

  • The molecules in which the central atom is interconnected to 3 orbitals and is sp hybridized having a triangular planar in shape.

  • All three hybrid orbitals in one single plane form an angle of 120 degrees. Each of the hybrid orbitals that are formed has 33.33% 's' character and 66.66% 'p' character.

2. Explain the Structure of Graphite and Diamond?

Answer: The structures of Graphite and diamond are explained as follows.

Structure of Diamond

All the carbon atoms of a diamond are considered to have a strong bond with that of another four carbon atoms, therefore forming a perfect tetrahedron structure all over the crystal. The carbon atoms in diamond are Sp³ hybridized and the bond length of carbon atoms are equivalent. Therefore, the diamond forms a three-dimensional grid of storing covalent bonds.

Diamond has a high melting point of 3843 K and a high density of 3.84 g/cm³. It is a poor conductor of electricity as its valence electrons get included in C-C sigma covalent bonds. Hence, they are confined and are not free to conduct electricity.

Structure of Graphite 

All the carbon atoms in Graphite are considered to have strong chemical bonds with that of the other three carbon atoms. Hence, the sheet looks like wire, the weak form of forces hold the sheet steadily. 

When you are creating this structure with a pencil on the paper, it is these sheets that move separately.

The carbon atoms in the Graphite structure are sp² hybridized and are directed in the same plane, therefore forming a hexagonal ring. The rings have multiple layers of particles. Graphite is said to have low electrical conductivity with a low density of 2.26 g/cm³.