Walsh Cyclopropane Molecular Orbitals

Walsh Cyclopropane is a common topic in upper-level organic chemistry courses, particularly those taught by chemists who (like me) are fascinated by interesting ways of describing bonds.

Cyclopropane is usually described with so-called "banana bonds," which are sp3-hybridized (as shown below left), but A. D. Walsh, in 1947, invented a different way of describing bonding in the molecule. Walsh's model explains several ways in which cyclopropane differs from other saturated hydrocarbons. For example,

banana bonds
  1. Introduction
  2. Derivation of the Walsh Cyclopropane MOs
  3. Orbital Energy Diagram
  4. Conclusions

Copyright © 1997 by Daniel J. Berger. This work may be copied without limit if its use is to be for non-profit educational purposes. Such copies may be by any method, present or future. The author requests only that this statement accompany all such copies. All rights to publication for profit are retained by the author.

Images generated with HyperChem Lite and ChemWindow Suite.