# Illusion that shell, subshell and orbitals are the same

• avito009
In summary, Shells, subshells, and orbitals are all important concepts in atomic structure. Shells refer to the main energy levels, subshells are divisions within each energy level, and orbitals are specific regions within subshells where electrons are likely to be found. These terms are sometimes used interchangeably, but they are distinct. The number of subshells in each energy level corresponds to the number of the energy level, and the shapes of orbitals in different subshells are different. These concepts are also related to the periodic table, as the organization of elements is based on their electron configurations.
avito009
Why was I taught in high school that shell, subshells and orbitals were the same thing?

avito009 said:
Why was I taught in high school that shell, subshells and orbitals were the same thing?

Because your high school teachers (almost certainly rightly) didn't think that you had the mathematical foundations needed to handle something like http://users.aber.ac.uk/ruw/teach/237/hatom.php (Picked pretty much at random, one of many thousands of explanations that you will find if you google for "Schrodinger hydrogen atom solution"), let alone the additional complications that arise in multi-electron atoms.

bhobba

## What is the difference between a shell, subshell, and orbital?

A shell refers to the main energy levels in an atom, labeled as 1, 2, 3, etc. Subshells are the divisions within each energy level, labeled as s, p, d, f. Orbitals are the specific regions within a subshell where electrons are most likely to be found.

## Why do some textbooks use the terms shell, subshell, and orbital interchangeably?

Some textbooks use these terms interchangeably because they are often used to describe similar concepts and can be confusing for students. However, they are distinct and refer to different aspects of atomic structure.

## How many subshells are in each energy level?

The number of subshells in each energy level corresponds to the number of the energy level. For example, the first energy level (n=1) has one subshell (s), the second energy level (n=2) has two subshells (s and p), and so on.

## Are the shapes of orbitals in different subshells the same or different?

The shapes of orbitals in different subshells are different. s subshells have a spherical shape, p subshells have a dumbbell shape, d subshells have a cloverleaf shape, and f subshells have a complex shape with multiple lobes.

## How do shells, subshells, and orbitals relate to the periodic table?

The periodic table is organized based on the electron configurations of elements, which are determined by the arrangement of electrons in shells, subshells, and orbitals. The periods (rows) correspond to the energy levels, while the groups (columns) correspond to the number of valence electrons in the outermost shell.

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