Bonding in the Hydrogen Halides | Organic Chemistry
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Bonding in the Hydrogen Halides

Fluorine, chlorine, bromine, and iodine are collectively known as the halogens. HF, HCl, HBr, and HI are called hydrogen halides. Bond angles will not help us determine the orbitals involved in a hydrogen halide bond, as they did with other molecules, because hydrogen halides have only one bond. We do know, however, that bonding electrons and lone-pair electrons position themselves to minimize electron repulsion (Section 1.6). If the three lone pairs were in sp3 orbitals, they would be farther apart than they would be if one pair resided in an s orbital and the other two pairs resided in p orbitals. Therefore, we will assume that the hydrogen–halogen bond is formed by the overlap of an sp3 orbital of the halogen with the s orbital of hydrogen.
hydrogen fluoride bonding
The shorter the bond, the stronger it is.
hydrogen chloride
In the case of fluorine, the sp3 orbital used in bond formation belongs to the second shell of electrons. In chlorine, the sp3 orbital belongs to the third shell of electrons. Because the average distance from the nucleus is greater for an electron in the third shell than for an electron in the second shell, the average electron density is less in a 3sp3 orbital than in a 2sp3 orbital. This means that the electron density in the region where the s orbital of hydrogen overlaps the sp3 orbital of the halogen decreases as the size of the halogen increases (Figure 1.19). Therefore, the hydrogen–halogen bond becomes longer and weaker as the size (atomic weight) of the halogen increases (Table 1.6).
hydrogen–halogen bond

Figure 1.19 There is greater electron density in the region of overlap of an s orbital with a 2sp3 orbital than in the region of overlap of an s orbital with a 3sp3 orbital.

hydrogen–halogen bond length

Bonding in the Hydrogen Halides

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