Dismiss Notice
Join Physics Forums Today!
The friendliest, high quality science and math community on the planet! Everyone who loves science is here!

Angle between H in H2O

  1. Jul 25, 2010 #1
    In "Six Easy Pieces", Chapter 1, Richard Feynman discusses how the angle between hydrogen atoms in a water molecule is 105 deg. Why is this? Would it be the same for a heavy water molecule?

    John
     
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 26, 2010 #2

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Probably Feynman discussed it because he found it interesting or illuminating!
     
  4. Jul 26, 2010 #3
    Thank you, Dr.Dru, but I was wondering why the angle is 105 deg?

    John
     
  5. Jul 27, 2010 #4

    DrDu

    User Avatar
    Science Advisor

    Yes, but what is the problem? I thought Feynman gave an explanation. Is there anything unclear with his explanation?
    One of the easiest explanations is the VSEPR (Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulstion) theory.
    According to it the free and bound electron pairs repell each other. In H2O there are two free electron pairs and two bound ones, hence they try to arange in a tetrahedral configuration.
    The bound electron pairs extend over two atoms, hence the repulsion between them is a little bit smaller whence the angle between the bound pairs is a little bit smaller than 109.5 deg, the ideal tetrahedral angle.
     
Share this great discussion with others via Reddit, Google+, Twitter, or Facebook