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Homework Help: Electron Designations

  1. Oct 11, 2007 #1
    1. The problem statement, all variables and given/known data
    How many electrons in an atom can have the following designations?

    2. Relevant equations
    None that I know of

    3. The attempt at a solution
    I know how to find the number of electrons in a 5p designation but the subscript x,y,z is throwing me off.
  2. jcsd
  3. Oct 12, 2007 #2
    p is a subshell that has 3 different orbitals. They are designated p_x , p_y , and p_z because each one is aligned along a specific axis in space. Each orbital can hold up to two electrons. While 5p subshell can hold up to 6 electrons , 5px / 5py / 5pz orbital can contain 2 electrons at most. The same argument holds when working with different subshells such as s , d , or f. The difference is in the number of orbitals each subshell has. For instance , a d subshell can hold up to 10 electrons in its 5 distinct orbitals. d_xy is one of these orbitals and again can contain 2 electrons at most.

    So, 2 electrons can have the designations 5px, 7py , or 6dxy.
  4. Oct 12, 2007 #3
    Thank you, I wish my teacher would have told me this.
  5. Oct 12, 2007 #4


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    The answer was in your book. Your teacher wanted you to read it and understand it.

    Hunt, these are in the rules for homework help:
    Last edited: Oct 12, 2007
  6. Oct 13, 2007 #5
    Thanks for the notice, chemisttree.

    Wont happen again
  7. Oct 15, 2007 #6


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    I'm just jealous that someone like you wasn't around when I was taking chemistry....
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