Two Electron GroupsThree Electron GroupsFour Electron GroupsFive Electron GroupsSix Electron teams

Learning Objectives

To use the VSEPR model to predict molecular geometries. To predict even if it is a molecule has actually a dipole moment.

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The Lewis electron-pair strategy can be supplied to guess the number and species of bonds between the atoms in a substance, and also it indicates which atoms have lone bag of electrons. This strategy gives no information about the actual arrangement of atom in space, however. We proceed our discussion of structure and bonding by introducing the valence-shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) model (pronounced “vesper”), which deserve to be offered to guess the forms of many molecules and also polyatomic ions. Store in mind, however, that the VSEPR model, like any type of model, is a restricted representation that reality; the model provides no information about bond lengths or the existence of multiple bonds.

The VSEPR Model

The VSEPR model deserve to predict the framework of virtually any molecule or polyatomic ion in i beg your pardon the main atom is a nonmetal, and the structures of countless molecules and polyatomic ions with a central metal atom. The VSEPR version is not a theory; the does no attempt to define observations. Instead, that is a counting procedure that accurately predicts the three-dimensional structures of a big number the compounds, which can not be predicted utilizing the Lewis electron-pair approach.

Figure \(\PageIndex1\): common Structures because that Molecules and Polyatomic ion That covers a main Atom external inspection to 2 or Three other Atoms

We deserve to use the VSEPR version to guess the geometry of many polyatomic molecules and also ions by concentrating on only the number of electron pairs about the central atom, ignoring all various other valence electrons present. Follow to this model, valence electron in the Lewis structure kind groups, which may consist the a single bond, a dual bond, a triple bond, a lone pair that electrons, or even a solitary unpaired electron, i beg your pardon in the VSEPR design is counted as a lone pair. Because electrons defeat each other electrostatically, the most stable arrangement of electron teams (i.e., the one through the shortest energy) is the one that minimizes repulsions. Teams are positioned approximately the main atom in a way that produce the molecular framework with the lowest energy, as depicted in figures \(\PageIndex1\) and \(\PageIndex2\).

Figure \(\PageIndex2\): Geometries for species with two to six Electron Groups. Groups are placed about the main atom in a means that to produce a molecular structure with the shortest energy. That is, the one that minimizes repulsions.

In the VSEPR model, the molecule or polyatomic ion is offered an AXmEn designation, wherein A is the main atom, X is a bonded atom, E is a nonbonding valence electron group (usually a lone pair the electrons), and also m and n room integers. Each group approximately the main atom is designated together a bonding pair (BP) or lone (nonbonding) pair (LP). Native the BP and also LP interaction we have the right to predict both the family member positions the the atoms and also the angles between the bonds, dubbed the link angles. Utilizing this information, us can describe the molecular geometry, the setup of the bonded atoms in a molecule or polyatomic ion. This procedure is summarized as follows:

draw the Lewis electron framework of the molecule or polyatomic ion. Determine the electron group arrangement about the central atom the minimizes repulsions. Assign an AXmEn designation; then recognize the LP–LP, LP–BP, or BP–BP interactions and predict deviations from ideal bond angles. Explain the molecule geometry.

We will illustrate the usage of this procedure with numerous examples, start with atoms v two electron groups. In our discussion we will refer to figure \(\PageIndex2\) and Figure \(\PageIndex3\), which summarize the common molecular geometries and also idealized bond angles of molecules and ions v two to six electron groups.

Figure \(\PageIndex3\): usual Molecular Geometries for species with 2 to 6 Electron Groups. Lone bag are displayed using a dashed line.

Two Electron Groups

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

AX2: BeH2

1. The central atom, beryllium, contributes two valence electrons, and also each hydrogen atom contributes one. The Lewis electron structure is

Figure \(\PageIndex2\) that the setup that minimizes repulsions areas the groups 180° apart.

3. Both groups roughly the central atom room bonding bag (BP). Hence BeH2 is designated together AX2.

4. From number \(\PageIndex3\) we watch that with two bonding pairs, the molecular geometry the minimizes repulsions in BeH2 is linear.


Three Electron Groups

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2. There room three electron groups approximately the main atom, two double bonds and one lone pair. We initially place the groups in a trigonal planar arrangement to minimization repulsions (Figure \(\PageIndex2\)).

3. There are two bonding pairs and one lone pair, so the structure is designated as AX2E. This designation has a complete of 3 electron pairs, two X and one E. Due to the fact that a lone pair is not mutual by two nuclei, that occupies more space near the central atom 보다 a bonding pair (Figure \(\PageIndex4\)). Hence bonding pairs and also lone pairs repel each other electrostatically in the bespeak BP–BP 2, we have one BP–BP interaction and also two LP–BP interactions.

4. The molecule geometry is defined only by the location of the nuclei, not by the location of the lone pairs. For this reason with 2 nuclei and one lone pair the form is bent, or V shaped, which have the right to be perceived as a trigonal planar arrangement with a lacking vertex (Figures and 9.2.3).


2. Over there are 4 electron groups roughly the main atom. As displayed in number \(\PageIndex2\), repulsions are minimized by place the groups in the corners that a tetrahedron v bond angles of 109.5°.

3. Every electron teams are bonding pairs, for this reason the framework is designated together AX4.

4. With 4 bonding pairs, the molecule geometry the methane is tetrahedral (Figure \(\PageIndex3\)).


1. In ammonia, the main atom, nitrogen, has 5 valence electrons and each hydrogen donates one valence electron, creating the Lewis electron structure

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AX2E2: H2O

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

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AX5: PCl5

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

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With an increased valence, that this types is an exemption to the octet rule.

2. Over there are six electron groups around the central atom, each a bonding pair. We watch from figure \(\PageIndex2\) that the geometry that minimizes repulsions is octahedral.

3. With only bonding pairs, SF6 is designated together AX6. Every positions room moment-g.comically equivalent, for this reason all digital interactions room equivalent.

4. There are 6 nuclei, for this reason the molecule geometry of SF6 is octahedral.

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With its broadened valence, this species is an exemption to the octet rule.

2. There are 6 electron groups approximately the Br, 5 bonding pairs and one lone pair. Placing 5 F atoms around Br when minimizing BP–BP and also LP–BP repulsions offers the following structure:

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Figure \(\PageIndex6\): Overview of molecule Geometries


A The main atom, O, has actually six valence electrons, and each H atom contributes one valence electron. Subtracting one electron because that the positive charge provides a total of eight valence electrons, for this reason the Lewis electron framework is

B there are four electron groups roughly oxygen, 3 bonding pairs and also one lone pair. Choose NH3, repulsions are decreased by directing every hydrogen atom and the lone pair to the corners that a tetrahedron.

C With 3 bonding pairs and one lone pair, the framework is designated as AX3E and has a complete of 4 electron pairs (three X and also one E). We suppose the LP–BP interactions to cause the bonding pair angle to deviate substantially from the angle of a perfect tetrahedron.

D There room three nuclei and also one lone pair, for this reason the molecule geometry is trigonal pyramidal, in essence a tetrahedron missing a vertex. However, the H–O–H bond angles are much less than the right angle the 109.5° because of LP–BP repulsions:

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Example \(\PageIndex1\)

Predict the molecule geometry of each molecule.

XeF2 SnCl2

Given: two moment-g.comical compounds

Asked for: molecular geometry


Use the strategy provided in instance 9.2.1.

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A Xenon contributes eight electrons and also each fluorine seven valence electrons, so the Lewis electron structure is

B there are 5 electron groups approximately the central atom, 2 bonding pairs and also three lone pairs. Repulsions are lessened by put the groups in the corners the a trigonal bipyramid.

C native B, XeF2 is designated as AX2E3 and has a full of 5 electron pairs (two X and also three E). With 3 lone pairs around the main atom, we deserve to arrange the two F atoms in three possible ways: both F atoms have the right to be axial, one deserve to be axial and also one equatorial, or both can be equatorial: