You are Here: Home

# How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur? Tweet

Chemistry discussion, revision, exam and homework help.

Announcements Posted on
TSR launches Learn Together! - Our new subscription to help improve your learning 16-05-2013
IMPORTANT: You must wait until midnight (morning exams)/4.30AM (afternoon exams) to discuss Edexcel exams and until 1pm/6pm the following day for STEP and IB exams. Please read before posting, including for rules for practical and oral exams. 28-04-2013
1. How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
So the previous part of the question asks you to complete the electron configuration for an atom of Sulfur:

Easy enough: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p4

It then asks how many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur. So I know that an orbital holds up to a max of 2 electrons...so I thought the logical conclusion from the above configuration would be sulfur holding 8 full orbitals, but the mark scheme says 7....help! Don't understand that!

Thanks
2. Re: How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
Think about how electrons fill into the orbitals, they pair up as a last resort
3. Re: How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
(Original post by EierVonSatan)
Think about how electrons fill into the orbitals, they pair up as a last resort
But in 3p4 surely there would be 2 pairs of electrons? I'm clearly to thick to understand this
4. Re: How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
(Original post by haj1989)
But in 3p4 surely there would be 2 pairs of electrons? I'm clearly to thick to understand this
No you're not

p subshells have 3 orbitals, yeah? You have 4 electrons to place and you want to avoid pairing them up, because there is a small energy cost in doing so (electrostatic repulsion). So, how many full orbitals are there in a 3p4 (ground state) configuration?
5. Re: How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
(Original post by EierVonSatan)
No you're not

p subshells have 3 orbitals, yeah? You have 4 electrons to place and you want to avoid pairing them up, because there is a small energy cost in doing so (electrostatic repulsion). So, how many full orbitals are there in a 3p4 (ground state) configuration?
Ah I see! Understood! Thanks for the help
6. Re: How many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur?
(Original post by haj1989)
So the previous part of the question asks you to complete the electron configuration for an atom of Sulfur:

Easy enough: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p4

It then asks how many full orbitals are in an atom of sulfur. So I know that an orbital holds up to a max of 2 electrons...so I thought the logical conclusion from the above configuration would be sulfur holding 8 full orbitals, but the mark scheme says 7....help! Don't understand that!

Thanks
So with orbitals, they pair up, as a last resort. Electrons like to be on their own. So 1S2 is 1 orbital, 2S2 is another, 2P6 is 3 pairs (so far 5 full orbitals), 3S2 is another (6 orbitals in total). Then we come onto 3P4. The P orbitals can hold a maximum of 6 electrons, so three pairs. So the first three electrons occupy the 3 orbitals on their own, but we have an electron left over, so that pairs up with one of the electrons, making up the 7 full orbitals. The atom has 2 orbitals with only 1 electron in. This is because this is the lowest energy configuration.