What is the shape of a 3p atomic orbital?


Quick Answer

A 3p atomic orbital is shaped like a dumbbell. In this dumbbell shape on the third energy level, there is a 95 percent chance of finding a 3p electron.

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Full Answer

P orbitals are found on different planes: Px, Py and Pz. Each orbital plane can hold two electrons. These planes are at right angles to one another but are dumbbell shaped. Depending on the element in question, each orbital is sequentially filled with the amount of electrons made available from the element. The more electrons available, the more p orbital planes filled. Once p orbitals are completely filled, additional electrons must occupy the d and f orbitals.

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