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Are Di-Atomic Molecules spherical?

  1. Jul 23, 2015 #1
    It is usually said that molecules are spherical in shape, that is what we learn from our text books. May be what they are saying is true but only in the case of a monatomic molecule. If one considers a diatomic molecule there are two atoms that means two spheres and if it is polyatomic there is no doubt there are many spheres attached to one another. If that is the case polyatomic molecules are never really spherical! Please clear my this confusion.
  2. jcsd
  3. Jul 23, 2015 #2
    There are configurations of atoms that are spherical, a bucky ball for example. Atoms don't have to be spheres either, it depends on how many electrons are in their outer most shell.
  4. Jul 23, 2015 #3
    Then what else is the structure that an atom can have other than a sphere?
  5. Jul 23, 2015 #4
  6. Jul 23, 2015 #5


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    Atoms and molecules are mostly empty space. It is hard to define a shape.
  7. Jul 23, 2015 #6
    The angle dependence of atomic orbitals are spherical harmonics.

    Molecules do not have spherical symmetry. But diatomics can be often treated as round things, for example as a Vanderwaals gas.
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