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

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The Lewis electron-pair approach can be used to predict the number and types of bonds in between the atoms in a substance, and also it shows which atoms have actually lone bag of electrons. This strategy gives no information around the actual setup of atom in space, however. We proceed our discussion of structure and bonding by presenting the valence-shell electron-pair repulsion (VSEPR) model (pronounced “vesper”), which deserve to be offered to predict the forms of countless molecules and polyatomic ions. Save in mind, however, the the VSEPR model, like any model, is a limited representation the reality; the model offers no information about bond lengths or the visibility of lot of bonds.

The VSEPR Model

The VSEPR model deserve to predict the structure of virtually any molecule or polyatomic ion in i beg your pardon the main atom is a nonmetal, and also the structures of plenty of molecules and also polyatomic ions through a main metal atom. The premise the the VSEPR concept is that electron pairs situated in bonds and lone pairs repel every other and also will therefore take on the geometry that areas electron pairs as much apart indigenous each other as possible. This theory is an extremely simplistic and does not account because that the subtleties of orbit interactions that influence molecular shapes; however, the simple VSEPR counting procedure that s right predicts the three-dimensional frameworks of a large number the compounds, which can not be predicted utilizing the Lewis electron-pair approach.

Figure (PageIndex1): common Structures because that Molecules and also Polyatomic ions That covers a central Atom external inspection to two or Three various other Atoms. (CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

We deserve to use the VSEPR model to predict the geometry of most polyatomic molecules and also ions by focusing only top top the number of electron pairs around the central atom, skipping all other valence electron present. Follow to this model, valence electron in the Lewis structure form groups, which might consist of a solitary bond, a double bond, a triple bond, a lone pair the electrons, or even a single unpaired electron, i beg your pardon in the VSEPR model is counted as a lone pair. Due to the fact that electrons defeat each other electrostatically, the many stable arrangement of electron teams (i.e., the one through the shortest energy) is the one that minimizes repulsions. Teams are positioned about the central atom in a method that produces the molecular framework with the shortest energy, as depicted in numbers (PageIndex1) and (PageIndex2).

Figure (PageIndex2): Electron Geometries for varieties with two to six Electron Groups. Teams are placed approximately the main atom in a means that produces a molecular framework with the shortest energy, the 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 room integers. Every group roughly the central atom is designated as a bonding pair (BP) or lone (nonbonding) pair (LP). Native the BP and LP interaction we have the right to predict both the family member positions of the atoms and also the angles in between the bonds, dubbed 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 show the usage of this procedure with several examples, beginning with atoms with two electron groups. In our discussion we will refer to number (PageIndex2) and Figure (PageIndex3), which summary the typical molecular geometries and idealized bond angle of molecules and also ions with two to 6 electron groups.

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

Two Electron Groups

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

AX2 Molecules: BeH2

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

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

3. Both groups roughly the main atom are bonding pairs (BP). For this reason BeH2 is designated as AX2.

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


Three Electron Groups

AX3 Molecules: BCl3

1. The central atom, boron, contributes 3 valence electrons, and also each chlorine atom contributes 7 valence electrons. The Lewis electron structure is

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

3. Every electron teams are bonding bag (BP), for this reason the structure is designated as AX3.

4. From figure (PageIndex3) we watch that with 3 bonding pairs approximately the central atom, the molecule geometry of BCl3 is trigonal planar, as presented in number (PageIndex2).

AX3 Molecules: CO32−

1. The central atom, carbon, has 4 valence electrons, and each oxygen atom has actually six valence electrons. As you learned previously, the Lewis electron structure of one of three resonance creates is represented as

Figure (PageIndex2)).

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

4. We view from figure (PageIndex3) the the molecular geometry the CO32− is trigonal planar v bond angles of 120°.

api/deki/files/141660/imageedit_91_9146022588.png?revision=1" />Figure (PageIndex2)):(CC BY-NC-SA; anonymous)

3. There room two bonding pairs and also one lone pair, therefore the framework is designated as AX2E. This designation has a complete of three electron pairs, two X and also one E. Due to the fact that a lone pair is not mutual by two nuclei, it occupies more space close to the main atom than a bonding pair (Figure (PageIndex4)). Therefore bonding pairs and also lone pairs repel each other electrostatically in the order BP–BP 2, we have actually one BP–BP interaction and two LP–BP interactions.

4. The molecular geometry is described only through the positions of the nuclei, not by the positions of the lone pairs. Hence with 2 nuclei and also one lone pair the shape is bent, or V shaped, which deserve to be regarded as a trigonal planar arrangement with a lacking vertex (Figures (PageIndex2) and (PageIndex3)). The O-S-O bond edge is supposed to it is in less than 120° because of the extra space taken increase by the lone pair.

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

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

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Four Electron Groups

One the the limitations of Lewis frameworks is the they depict molecules and also ions in only two dimensions. With four electron groups, we must learn to present molecules and also ions in three dimensions.

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2. There are 4 electron groups approximately the central atom. As displayed in number (PageIndex2), repulsions are reduced by put the teams in the corners of a tetrahedron with bond angles of 109.5°.

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

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

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

3. With 3 bonding pairs and also one lone pair, the structure is designated together AX3E. This designation has a total of 4 electron pairs, 3 X and one E. We expect the LP–BP interactions to cause the bonding pair angle to deviate considerably from the angles of a perfect tetrahedron.

4. There room three nuclei and also one lone pair, for this reason the molecule geometry is trigonal pyramidal. In essence, this is a tetrahedron through a vertex missing (Figure (PageIndex3)). However, the H–N–H bond angle are less than the appropriate angle the 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 each hydrogen has one valence electron, creating the Lewis electron structure


Five Electron Groups

In previous instances it go not issue where we placed the electron groups because all positions to be equivalent. In some cases, however, the positions room not equivalent. Us encounter this case for the 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 structure of PCl5 is


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

2. There are 5 groups approximately the central atom, 3 bonding pairs and two lone pairs. Us again straight the teams toward the vertices of a trigonal bipyramid.

3. With 3 bonding pairs and two lone pairs, the structure designation is AX3E2 through a complete of 5 electron pairs. Since the axial and also equatorial positions space not equivalent, we have to decide exactly how to species the teams to minimize repulsions. If we location both lone pairs in the axial positions, we have six LP–BP repulsions in ~ 90°. If both space in the equatorial positions, we have 4 LP–BP repulsions in ~ 90°. If one lone pair is axial and also the various other equatorial, we have one LP–LP repulsion at 90° and also three LP–BP repulsions at 90°:

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

3. With two bonding pairs and also three lone pairs, I3− has a complete of five electron pairs and is designated as AX2E3. We need to now decide just how to kinds the lone pairs of electron in a trigonal bipyramid in a way that minimizes repulsions. Placing them in the axial positions eliminates 90° LP–LP repulsions and minimizes the variety of 90° LP–BP repulsions.


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AX5E Molecules: BrF5

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

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The relationship in between the number of electron groups roughly a central atom, the variety of lone pairs of electrons, and the molecular geometry is summarized in figure (PageIndex6).


Figure (PageIndex6): Overview of molecule Geometries

Example (PageIndex1)

Using the VSEPR model, predict the molecule geometry of every molecule or ion.

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

Given: two sdrta.netistry species

Asked for: molecular geometry


draw the Lewis electron structure of the molecule or polyatomic ion. Recognize the electron group arrangement around the central atom the minimizes repulsions. Assign an AXmEn designation; then determine the LP–LP, LP–BP, or BP–BP interactions and predict deviations in shortcut angles. Explain the molecule geometry.


A The main atom, P, has five valence electrons and each fluorine has actually seven valence electrons, so the Lewis framework of PF5 is

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