# Question 931d5

##### 1 Answer
Feb 25, 2017

The phosphorus atoms in elemental phosphorus, P"_4#, are probably unhybridized.

#### Explanation:

We know that elemental phosphorus has a tetrahedral structure.

Hence, the Lewis structure is

.

Each P atom has a lone pair and 3 bond pairs, for a steric number, $\text{SN = 4}$.

VSEPR theory predicts an ${\text{sp}}^{3}$ hybridization, with normal bond angles of 109.5°.

Compression from 109.5° to 60° would involve enormous angle strain.

If phosphorus used its unhybridized $\text{3p}$ orbitals, the compression would be only(?) from 90° to 60°, but this is still a huge amount of angle strain.

More likely, each $\text{3p}$ orbital keeps its 90° bond angle for overlap with the orbitals of the other phosphorus atoms.

(Adapted from Chemexplore)

These bonds would not be as strong as ordinary σ bonds because the overlap angles are 90°.

Chemists usually call such bonds "bent bonds" or "banana bonds" because they are bent like a banana.

(Adapted from Chemexplore)