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LAB #11

MOLECULAR GEOMETRY
NOTE: Print out the table at the end of this document. This is the worksheet
that you will fill in during lab and turn in at the end of class.

Introduction:

The determination of the structure, shape, and polarity of covalently bonded


molecules is an important concept in general chemistry and leads to understanding
many of the properties of a compound. Knowing the total valence number of electrons
in a molecule or ion and knowing, in general, that atoms will attempt to obtain an octet,
can help us to predict the structure of a molecule or ion. The term structure refers to
the general arrangement of the atoms and whether bonds are single or multiple. Once
the structure is known, shape can be predicted. Shape is determined using the
Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion model (VSEPR). The model is based on the
concept that pairs of electrons, and their bonding orbitals, will attempt to maximize the
angle between themselves and the neighboring orbital. With this information, the
angles between neighboring orbitals can be determined. For example if there are two
orbitals, the angle is 180 degrees and if three, 120 degrees.

With this information the shape of a molecule is determined by counting the


number of electron domains around the central atom of a molecule. The number of
domains can range from 2 to 6 with names indicated in table #1. Once the number of
domains is known, the number of domains which actually contain a bond is determined.
This gives the actual shape (geometry) of the molecule. Refer to the text for the variety
of possibilities and names.

TABLE #1

Electron Domains Electron Domain Geometry

2 Linear
3 Trigonal planar
4 Tetrahedral
5 Trigonal Bipyramidal
6 Octahedral

Rev. JSM 7.28.11


Finally, the polarity of a molecule can be predicted. Polar means that the
molecule possesses a dipole moment. Electrical charge is not equally distributed and
thus the molecule has an end with a partial negative and positive charge. Polarity is
indicated by an arrow ( | ) with the point towards the more electronegative region.

EXAMPLE:

Let us consider the water molecule: H2O.

Valence Electrons = 8 (1 for each H and 6 for O)

Structure: (Each single bond represents 2 electrons the other 4 are on


the central oxygen to give it an octet. Remember hydrogen only strives for 2 electrons)

Electron Domains = 4: (Each bond counts as one domain, and each unshared pair
counts as one).

E.D. Geometry = Tetrahedral

Molecular Geometry = Bent (The E.D. geometry is a tetrahedral with each angle equal
to approximately 109 degrees. But two of the region do not have bonds therefore the
overall shape is bent.)

Polarity: (Since oxygen is much more polar than hydrogen and the
molecule is not symmetrical there is a dipole moment with the most electronegative
region around the oxygen atom.)

Procedure:

Students will be divided into groups. Each group will be assigned one of the lists
on the following page. Groups will complete data sheet #1 and build a model for each
assigned molecule. The lab instructor will approve each model. There will be no formal
lab report required for this lab. Turn in completed data sheet prior to leaving.

Remember:

Elements below and to the right of P may or may not obey the octet rule.
Hydrogen and halogens will not form multiple bonds.
Oxygen is seldom the central atom.
C is almost always the central atom.
There are no ring compounds in the list

Rev. JSM 7.28.11


LIST A LIST B

AsCl3 CO2
PBr5 PBr3
BCl3 NO2-1
AlF6-3 XeF2
SO2 SF6
TeCl4 BF3
ClF3 ClO4-1
PO4-3 ICl4-1
I3-1 H2CO ( no O-H bond)
CH3+1 AsO4-3

LIST C LIST D

H2S CCl4
NH4+ H3O+
PCl6-1 COCl2
GaI3 PCl5
SbCl5 POBr3
IF5 ClO3-1
SeF4 XeF4
CO3-2 BrF3
SeO3-2 SO3
HgCl2 NH3

Rev. JSM 7.28.11


Lewis Dot E. D. Molecular
Formula Valence e- Sketch Polarity
Structure Geometry Geometry

Rev. JSM 7.28.11