# How are hybrid orbitals more energetically favorable than their components?

In the orbital hybridization theory, the $s$ and the $p$ orbitals are said to combine to form hybrid orbitals which are degenerate in energy.

1. How does the linear combination of the $s$ and $p$ orbitals result in (in carbon, for example) four degenerate orbitals?

2. Why is this configuration is more favorable than separate $s$ and $p$ orbitals?

3. Is the energy of the four hybrid orbitals between the energy of the non-hybrid $s$ and $p$ orbitals?

4. How would I go about verifying that this orbital configuration is more favorable?

• Hello Charlie, welcome to Physics.SE! As it stands, the question is a bit broad, so you might consider splitting up the four questions in it. – heather Feb 18 '17 at 14:51
• The hybridization theory is just a hypothesis which worked well in explaining many observed compounds. However, it is not accurate and does have a lot of exceptions. The most accurate theory we have for bonding as of today is Molecular Orbital Theory. – Yashas Feb 18 '17 at 15:00
• It's just a theoretical model that happens to explain many things accurately, like bond angles. Orbitals are not real, tangible/physical things. – xasthor Feb 18 '17 at 16:38
• Even given that orbitals are theoretical models and not physical objects, I think the OP's questions are still reasonable. I would love to hear from some experts in the field. – electronpusher Feb 19 '17 at 2:14