Cubical atom

The cubical atom was an early atomic model in which electrons were positioned at the eight corners of a cube in a non-polar atom or molecule. This theory was developed in 1902 by Gilbert N. Lewis and published in 1916 in the article "The Atom and the Molecule" and used to account for the phenomenon of valency.[1] Lewis' theory was based on Abegg's rule. It was further developed in 1919 by Irving Langmuir as the cubical octet atom.[2] The figure below shows structural representations for elements of the second row of the periodic table.

Although the cubical model of the atom was soon abandoned in favor of the quantum mechanical model based on the Schrödinger equation, and is therefore now principally of historical interest, it represented an important step towards the understanding of the chemical bond. The 1916 article by Lewis also introduced the concept of the electron pair in the covalent bond, the octet rule, and the now-called Lewis structure.


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