4.5.2 Directional Properties of Bonds

As we have already seen, the covalent bond is formed by overlapping of atomic orbitals. The molecule of hydrogen is formed due to the overlap of 1s-orbitals of two H atoms.

In case of polyatomic molecules like CH4, NH3 and H2O, the geometry of the molecules is also important in addition to the bond formation. For example why is it so that CH4 molecule has tetrahedral shape and HCH bond angles are 109.5°? Why is the shape of NH3 molecule pyramidal ?

The valence bond theory explains the shape, the formation and directional properties of bonds in polyatomic molecules like CH4, NH3 and H2O, etc. in terms of overlap and hybridisation of atomic orbitals.

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