# What properties of an element determines the maximum number of bonds it can make?

From my conjecture, I think it's a mix between valence electron and the principal energy state, but I'm not sure.

For example, C, N, O and F can only make a maximum of four bonds, as they can only have up to sp3 hybrid orbitals.

For Si, P, S and Cl, they can make a maximum of nine bonds, as they can have sp3d5 hybrid orbitals.

That's what I think, but I'm probably incorrect in some aspect.

• You should expand on your statement since it doesn't provide your reason. – LDC3 Jan 3 '15 at 18:27
• LDC3 is right. I can't see how these should get "mixed". – M.A.R. Jan 3 '15 at 18:35
• >For Si, P, S and Cl, they can make a maximum of nine bonds, as they can have sp3d5 hybrid orbitals. || nope, they can have 4 bonds at most as well. – permeakra Jan 3 '15 at 19:42
• @LtotheV $\ce{PCl5}$ molecule can be very roughly described as resonance hybrid (i.e. half-sum in this case) of two symmetrical structure. Three Cl atoms are contently bound to P atom, forming a flat triangle with the P atom in the center. one of the remaining electrons of P atom is transferred to one of the remaining Cl atoms, while another electron is used to form a covalent bond with remaining chlorine atom. Another resonance structure is a mirror opposite of described one, with roles of two last Cl atoms reversed. – permeakra Jan 3 '15 at 21:38
• @Dissenter Are you sure it is not 3-center, 4-electron bonding? link.springer.com/article/10.1007/s00897010525a – DavePhD Jan 5 '15 at 16:26

Examples such as $\ce{CLi6}$ and $\ce{TeF8^{2-}}$ are cited and emphasis is placed upon the ionic character of the bonding by the cited reference.