Difference Between S Orbital and P Orbital

Main difference

The main difference between S Orbital and P Orbital is that S Orbital is the spherical shaped orbital in the atom while P Orbital is the dumbbell shaped orbital in the atom.

Orbital S vs Orbital P

In the s orbital, the energy level is low, while in the p orbital, the energy level is high. The S orbital has zero angular nodes; on the other hand, the p orbital has a different angular node. In the s orbital, the maximum of two electrons it can hold in its orbital, while in the p orbital, it can hold six, are in its orbital. The S orbital is defined as the spherically shaped orbital in the atom, while the p orbital is defined as the dumbbell shaped orbital in the atom.

In the s orbital, there are no subshells or suborbitals, whereas, in the p orbital, there are three suborbitals. In the s orbital, the angular momentum is zero; on the other hand, in p orbital, the angular momentum is 1. In s orbital, there are no number of lobes whereas, in p orbitals, there are few lobes. Electron filling is completed first in the s orbital, while electron filling is second in p orbitals.

It is difficult to remove the electron from the s orbital due to the high ionization energy, while it is easy to lose the electron from the p orbital due to the low ionization energy. The S orbital is present near the nucleus of the atom, while the p orbital is present quite far from the nucleus. In the s orbital, only two electrons orbit the nucleus, while in the p orbital, six electrons orbit above the s orbital and around the nucleus of an atom.

Comparison chart
s orbital orbital
It is defined as the spherically shaped orbital in an atom. It is defined as the dumbbell-shaped orbital in an atom.
Power level
The S orbital has a low energy level orbital and can easily donate the electron. The P orbital has a high energy level and cannot easily donate an electron.
angular nodes
The S orbital has zero angular nodes. The P orbital has a certain number of nodes.
maximum electrons
The S orbital can only hold 2 electrons. The P orbital can hold only 6 electrons.
number of orbitals
The S orbital has no suborbitals. P orbitals have three suborbitals.
angular momentum
The angular momentum of the s orbital is zero. The angular momentum of the p orbitals is 1.
number of lobes
In s orbitals, there are zero number of lobes. In p orbitals, there are few lobes.

What is S Orbital?

It is defined as the spherically shaped orbital in an atom. It is present almost above the nucleus of an atom. The S orbital has little energy to retain electrons. It can only hold 2 electrons. The two electrons revolve around the nucleus in spherical shapes. We need a lot of energy to remove these two electrons. Under hybridization, this layer engages head-to-head to form different shapes of the molecule.

Electrons continually rotate in orbitals. Shell filling starts from the s orbital. The S orbital has zero angular momentum due to its spherical shape. The S orbital has zero angular nodes due to its spherical shape. It is the first orbital of each atom. In the s orbital, there are zero number of lobes. For example, in Hydrogen, the electronic configuration is 1s with 1 electron; is an incomplete orbital.

But in helium, there are 2 electrons, which is the entire orbital. The s orbital is present near the nucleus of an atom, so it is strongly attracted to the nuclear charge. The atom is stable with this orbital.

What is P Orbital?

It is defined as the dumbbell-shaped atomic orbital in an atom. It is present above the s orbital of an atom. It is more energized than the s orbital. It has six numerical electrons in its orbital in an atom. We don’t need a lot of energy to remove these electrons. In an atom, the electron in the p orbital is involved first in the bond. Upon joining, very little energy is released.

Under hybridization, one of the p suborbitals forms a head-to-head overlap, and the other two p suborbitals form a sideways overlap. P orbitals have few different angular nodes because they are present on 3 axes. The maximum number of electrons in p orbitals is 6 electrons. There are three suborbitals in the p orbitals; each suborbital contains 2 electrons.

The angular momentum of the p orbitals is one due to their difference in structure. It is oriented in all three axes, that is, x, y, and z. For example, in the carbon atom, the maximum electron is six, the distribution is in 1s 2s 2p. The p orbital is not completely filled.

Key differences

  1. The S orbital is defined as the spherically shaped orbital on an atom, while the p orbital is the dumbbell shaped orbital on an atom.
  2. The S orbital are the low energy orbitals; on the other hand, p orbitals are high energy orbitals.
  3. S orbitals contain a maximum of 2 electrons in their shell; Conversely, p orbitals contain a maximum of 6 electrons in their orbitals.
  4. In s orbitals, electrons spin spherically; on the other hand, in p orbitals, electrons rotate in dumbbell-shaped orbitals.
  5. In s orbitals, the maximum number of suborbitals is 1, while in the p orbital, the maximum number of orbitals is 3.
  6. In s orbitals, the number of lobes is zero, while in p orbitals, there are few lobes.

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