(Chemistry) Why do the orbitals of an atom only hold a certain amount of electrons?

Can I give it a shot? Everyone seems to have tried the qm explanations so I’ll try a super maybe too simple thermo one that may help just because it’s a different perspective.

Systems move spontaneously to their happiest stable lowest energy state. The +1 e is energetically favorable to be in the next layer/orbital/shell because it is a more stable configuration. The qm explanation is obviously the right way to go, but from a practical everyday life point of view it could be said to relate electron energies to how time moves forward not backward.

Also as a side note, the rules are only rules when computational, otherwise they are really summarizing, for example boron does not have to always follow the octet rule, but they don’t call it the octet theory cause that would be confusing.

/r/askscience Thread