Chemical Bonding: Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory (VSEPR) (1 of 2)

Atoms are surrounded by valence electrons. Since electrons are always moving they can be thought of as an electron cloud. Because the clouds are made up of electrons they have a negative charge. Therefore, the clouds of different atoms repel or push each other away.

At the same time, the chemical bonds keep the atoms bonded together by lowering their overall energy and providing stable octets. So atoms form chemical bonds that hold them together but their electron clouds push away from each other. Based on the type of atoms, number of electrons, and number of bonds we can predict the shape of the atom.

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