# Why is the basic shape of alkanes tetrahedral?

The carbon is member from the 14th family in the periodic table. It also has 6 electrons (atomic number = 6). When we distribute those electrons, we create $1 {s}^{2} 2 {s}^{2} 2 {p}^{2}$, but the carbon has to lower the $2 p$ orbitals and raise the $2 s$ orbitals in energy, making its $2 s$ and $2 p$ orbitals degenerate, as four $s {p}^{3}$ hybridized orbitals, with one electron in each, before bonding.
The tetrahedral geometry is created because every single $s {p}^{3}$ electron from the carbon repels the other with an equal coulombic force (wouldn't be equal if the carbon wasn't hybridized) in the s¹p³ (sp³) orbital. This creates an equal distribution to the atoms and gives it a tetrahedral geometry.