Simple Method for writing Dot Structures of N2O4
A simple procedure for writing Lewis structures is given in a previous article entitled “Lewis Structures and the Octet Rule”. Several worked examples relevant to this procedure were given in previous posts please see the Sitemap - Table of Contents (Lewis Electron Dot Structures).
Another example for writing Lewis structures following the above procedure is given below.
Let us consider the case of the dot structures of dinitrogen tetroxide (N2O4). Dinitrogen tetroxide is a powerful oxidizer that upon conduct spontaneously reacts with hydrazine making the pair a popular fuel for rockets.
How can we construct the N2O4 Lewis structure?
Step 1: Connect the atoms with single bonds. The central atoms are the nitrogen atoms.
Calculate the # of electrons in π bonds (multiple bonds) using formula (1):
Where n in this case is 6 since N2O4 consists of six atoms.
Where V = (6 + 5 + 5 + 6 + 6 + 6 ) = 34, where V the number of the valence electrons of N2O4
Therefore, P = 6n + 2 – V = 6 * 6 + 2 – 34 = 4 There are 4π electrons in N2O4 and that means 2 double bonds or a triple bond must be added to the structure in Step 1.
However, all the atoms present are second row elements and cannot accommodate more than 8 valence electrons. Therefore, a triple bond cannot be used as it would place ten electrons around the atoms bonded. The only possible case is that of two double bonds.
Step 3 & 4: The Lewis structures of N2O4 are as follows:
Figure 1: Lewis electron dot structures for N2O4
- G.N. Lewis, J.A.C.S, 38, 762-785, (1916)
- E. C. McGoran, J. Chem. Educ., 68, 19-23 (1991)
- A.B.P. Lever, J. Chem. Educ., 49, 819-821, (1972)
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