Hund's Rule

Introduction to Hund’s Rule

Aufbau principle tells us that the lowest energy orbitals get filled by electrons first. After the lower energy orbitals are filled, the electrons move on to higher energy orbitals. The problem with this rule is that it does not tell about the three 2p orbitals and the order that they will be filled in. According to Hund’s rule:

  • Before the double occupation of any orbital, every orbital in the sub level is singly occupied.
  • For the maximization of total spin, all electrons in a single occupancy orbital have the same spin.

An electron will not pair with another electron in a half-filled orbital as it has the ability to fill all its orbitals with similar energy. A large number of unpaired electrons are present in atoms which are at ground state. If two electrons come in contact they would show the same behavior as two magnets do. The electrons first try to get as far away from each other as possible before they have to pair up.

Hund’s-Rule

Explanation of Hund’s Rule

The electrons enter an empty orbital before pairing up. The electrons repel each other as they are negatively charged. The electrons do not share orbitals to reduce repulsion.

When we consider the second rule, the spins of unpaired electrons in singly occupied orbitals is the same. The initial electrons spin in the sub level decides what the spin of the other electrons would be. For instance, a carbon atom’s electron configuration would be 1s22s22p2. The same orbital will be occupied by the two 2s electrons although different orbitals will be occupied by the two 2p electrons in reference to Hund’s rule.

Electron Configuration and its Purpose

The valence shells of two atoms that come in contact with each other will interact first. When valence shells are not full then the atom is least stable. The chemical characteristics of an element are largely dependent on the valence electrons. Similar chemical characteristics can be seen in elements that have similar valence numbers.

The stability can also be predicted by the electron configuration. When all the orbitals of an atom are full it is most stable. The orbitals that have full energy level are the most stable, for example, noble gases. These type of elements do not react with other elements.


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Triethyl aluminium and titanium tetrachloride used in plastic industry is a