To use the VSEPR model to predict molecular geometries. Come predict whether a molecule has a dipole moment.

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The Lewis electron-pair method can be used to guess the number and species of bonds in between the atom in a substance, and it indicates which atoms have lone bag of electrons. This method gives no information about the actual plan of atoms in space, however. We continue our conversation of structure and bonding by presenting the valence-shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) design (pronounced “vesper”), which have the right to be used to suspect the shapes of numerous molecules and polyatomic ions. Save in mind, however, the the VSEPR model, like any model, is a limited representation that reality; the model provides no information about bond lengths or the presence of lot of bonds.

The VSEPR Model

The VSEPR model have the right to predict the framework of practically any molecule or polyatomic ion in i m sorry the main atom is a nonmetal, and the structures of numerous molecules and polyatomic ions with a main metal atom. The premise the the VSEPR theory is the electron pairs located in bonds and lone bag repel every other and also will therefore take on the geometry that areas electron pairs as far apart from each various other as possible. This concept is very simplistic and also does not account because that the subtleties of orbital interactions that influence molecular shapes; however, the straightforward VSEPR counting procedure accurately predicts the three-dimensional structures of a huge number that compounds, which cannot be predicted making use of the Lewis electron-pair approach.

Figure (PageIndex1): typical Structures for Molecules and Polyatomic ions That consists a central Atom external inspection to 2 or Three various other Atoms. (CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

We deserve to use the VSEPR design to suspect the geometry of many polyatomic molecules and ions by focusing only top top the variety of electron pairs approximately the central atom, skipping all other valence electron present. Follow to this model, valence electron in the Lewis structure form groups, which may consist of a solitary bond, a double bond, a triple bond, a lone pair the electrons, or even a solitary unpaired electron, i m sorry in the VSEPR design is counted as a lone pair. Since electrons loss each various other electrostatically, the most stable plan of electron groups (i.e., the one v the shortest energy) is the one that minimizes repulsions. Groups are positioned approximately the central atom in a way that to produce the molecular structure with the shortest energy, as illustrated in figures (PageIndex1) and (PageIndex2).

Figure (PageIndex2): Electron Geometries for species with two to six Electron Groups. Teams are placed around the main atom in a way that produces a molecular structure with the shortest energy, that is, the one the minimizes repulsions.(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

In the VSEPR model, the molecule or polyatomic ion is given an AXmEn designation, whereby A is the central atom, X is a external inspection atom, E is a nonbonding valence electron group (usually a lone pair of electrons), and also m and also n are integers. Every group roughly the main atom is designated as a bonding pair (BP) or lone (nonbonding) pair (LP). Native the BP and also LP interaction we have the right to predict both the loved one positions that the atoms and the angles between the bonds, referred to as the shortcut angles. Using this information, us can explain the molecular geometry, the arrangement of the bonded atoms in a molecule or polyatomic ion.

We will illustrate the use of this procedure with numerous examples, beginning with atoms through two electron groups. In our conversation we will refer to number (PageIndex2) and Figure (PageIndex3), which summarize the usual molecular geometries and also idealized bond angles of molecules and ions through two to 6 electron groups.

Figure (PageIndex3): usual Molecular Geometries for species with 2 to 6 Electron Groups. Lone bag are shown using a dashed line.(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

Two Electron Groups

Our an initial example is a molecule with two bonded atoms and no lone pairs of electrons, (BeH_2).

AX2 Molecules: BeH2

1. The main atom, beryllium, contributes 2 valence electrons, and each hydrogen atom contributes one. The Lewis electron structure is

Figure (PageIndex2) the the arrangement that minimizes repulsions places the teams 180° apart.(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

3. Both groups about the main atom room bonding bag (BP). Thus BeH2 is designated as AX2.

4. From number (PageIndex3) we see that through two bonding pairs, the molecule geometry that minimizes repulsions in BeH2 is linear.


Three Electron Groups

AX3 Molecules: BCl3

1. The main atom, boron, contributes 3 valence electrons, and each chlorine atom contributes seven valence electrons. The Lewis electron structure is

Figure (PageIndex2)):(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

3. All electron teams are bonding bag (BP), so the framework is designated as AX3.

4. From figure (PageIndex3) we see that with 3 bonding pairs around the main atom, the molecular geometry of BCl3 is trigonal planar, as shown in figure (PageIndex2).

AX3 Molecules: CO32−

1. The central atom, carbon, has four valence electrons, and also each oxygen atom has actually six valence electrons. Together you learned previously, the Lewis electron structure of among three resonance creates is represented as

Figure (PageIndex2)).

3. Every electron groups are bonding pairs (BP). With three bonding groups roughly the main atom, the structure is designated together AX3.

4. We watch from number (PageIndex3) the the molecular geometry of CO32− is trigonal planar through bond angle of 120°.

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3. There space two bonding pairs and also one lone pair, for this reason the structure is designated together AX2E. This designation has a full of three electron pairs, 2 X and also one E. Because a lone pair is not common by two nuclei, it occupies an ext space close to the central atom than a bonding pair (Figure (PageIndex4)). Hence bonding pairs and also lone pairs repel each various other electrostatically in the stimulate BP–BP 2, we have one BP–BP interaction and two LP–BP interactions.

4. The molecular geometry is defined only by the location of the nuclei, not by the location of the lone pairs. For this reason with two nuclei and one lone pair the shape is bent, or V shaped, which have the right to be perceived as a trigonal planar plan with a missing vertex (Figures (PageIndex2) and also (PageIndex3)). The O-S-O bond edge is meant to it is in less than 120° since of the extra space taken up by the lone pair.

Figure (PageIndex4): The difference in the room Occupied by a Lone Pair of Electrons and also by a Bonding Pair.(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

As v SO2, this composite version of electron circulation and negative electrostatic potential in ammonia mirrors that a lone pair that electrons rectal a larger an ar of space around the nitrogen atom 보다 does a bonding pair of electrons the is mutual with a hydrogen atom.

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Four Electron Groups

One that the restrictions of Lewis frameworks is that they depict molecules and ions in only two dimensions. With 4 electron groups, us must find out to present molecules and also ions in three dimensions.

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2. There are four electron groups roughly the main atom. As presented in figure (PageIndex2), repulsions are decreased by place the teams in the corners that a tetrahedron v bond angle of 109.5°.

3. All electron groups are bonding pairs, so the framework is designated together AX4.

4. With 4 bonding pairs, the molecular geometry of methane is tetrahedral (Figure (PageIndex3)).

2. Over there are 4 electron groups about nitrogen, three bonding pairs and also one lone pair. Repulsions are minimized by directing each hydrogen atom and the lone pair to the corners the a tetrahedron.

3. With 3 bonding pairs and one lone pair, the structure is designated as AX3E. This designation has a full of four electron pairs, 3 X and also one E. We intend the LP–BP interaction to reason the bonding pair angles to deviate substantially from the angle of a perfect tetrahedron.

4. There are three nuclei and one lone pair, therefore the molecular geometry is trigonal pyramidal. In essence, this is a tetrahedron with a vertex absent (Figure (PageIndex3)). However, the H–N–H bond angle are much less than the right angle of 109.5° due to the fact that of LP–BP repulsions (Figure (PageIndex3) and also Figure (PageIndex4)).

AX2E2 Molecules: H2O

1. Oxygen has six valence electrons and also each hydrogen has actually one valence electron, developing the Lewis electron structure


Five Electron Groups

In previous examples it walk not matter where we placed the electron groups because all positions were equivalent. In part cases, however, the positions are not equivalent. We encounter this instance for the very first time with 5 electron groups.

AX5 Molecules: PCl5

1. Phosphorus has 5 valence electrons and each chlorine has seven valence electrons, for this reason the Lewis electron framework of PCl5 is


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Once again, we have actually a compound that is an exemption to the octet rule.

2. There are 5 groups around the main atom, 3 bonding pairs and also two lone pairs. Us again direct the teams toward the vertices of a trigonal bipyramid.

3. With three bonding pairs and two lone pairs, the structure designation is AX3E2 through a full of five electron pairs. Since the axial and equatorial positions space not equivalent, we should decide exactly how to arrange the teams to minimization repulsions. If we location both lone pairs in the axial positions, we have actually six LP–BP repulsions in ~ 90°. If both space in the equatorial positions, us have four LP–BP repulsions in ~ 90°. If one lone pair is axial and also the various other equatorial, we have actually one LP–LP repulsion in ~ 90° and also three LP–BP repulsions at 90°:

2. Over there are 5 electron groups around the central atom in I3−, 2 bonding pairs and three lone pairs. To minimize repulsions, the groups are command to the corners the a trigonal bipyramid.

3. With two bonding pairs and three lone pairs, I3− has a total of five electron pairs and also is designated together AX2E3. We should now decide exactly how to kinds the lone pairs of electron in a trigonal bipyramid in a method that minimizes repulsions. Placing them in the axial positions eliminates 90° LP–LP repulsions and minimizes the number of 90° LP–BP repulsions.


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AX5E Molecules: BrF5

1. The central atom, bromine, has actually seven valence electrons, together does every fluorine, therefore the Lewis electron framework is

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AX4E2 Molecules: ICl4−

1. The central atom, iodine, contributes seven electrons. Each chlorine contributes seven, and also there is a single an adverse charge. The Lewis electron structure is


Example (PageIndex1)

Using the VSEPR model, suspect the molecular geometry of each molecule or ion.

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PF5 (phosphorus pentafluoride, a catalyst provided in specific organic reactions) H3O+ (hydronium ion)

Given: two snucongo.orgical species

Asked for: molecular geometry


attract the Lewis electron framework of the molecule or polyatomic ion. Recognize the electron team arrangement roughly the central atom that minimizes repulsions. Entrust an AXmEn designation; then determine the LP–LP, LP–BP, or BP–BP interactions and predict deviations in shortcut angles. Explain the molecular geometry.


A The central atom, P, has 5 valence electrons and also each fluorine has seven valence electrons, therefore the Lewis structure of PF5 is
A The main atom, O, has six valence electrons, and each H atom contributes one valence electron. Subtracting one electron because that the confident charge provides a total of eight valence electrons, for this reason the Lewis electron framework is
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