Simple method for writing Lewis Structures: Chlorine Dioxide ClO2 | Chemistry Net

Simple method for writing Lewis Structures: Chlorine Dioxide ClO2

Simple method for writing Lewis Structures of Chlorine Dioxide ClO2

Simple method for writing Lewis Structures: Chlorine Dioxide ClO2

A simple procedure for writing Lewis electron dot 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 Lewis dot structures of chlorine dioxide ClO2. Chlorine dioxide is used mainly for bleaching of wood pulp, for bleaching of flour and for the disinfection of municipal drinking water

How can we draw the  Lewis structure of ClO2?


Step 1: Connect the atoms with single bonds. Chlorine is the central atom.

 Connect the atoms with single bonds

Step 2: Calculate the # of electrons in π bonds (multiple bonds) using  formula (1) in the article entitled “Lewis Structures and the Octet Rule”. 

Where n in this case is 3 since ClO2 consists of three atoms.

Where V = (6 + 6 + 7 ) = 19 

Therefore, P = 6n + 2 – V = 6 * 3 + 2 – 19 = 1   So there is only 1 π electron in ClO

So the structure of Step 1 is the Lewis structure.

Electrons are placed around each atom so that the octet rule is obeyed. Since the number of valence electrons is odd the octet rule will not be obeyed in all atoms. Formal charges are assigned and equalized using resonance.

Step 3 & 4: The Lewis structures of ClO2 are derived below:

Figure 1: Plausible Lewis structures for chlorine dioxide. Oxygen is more electronegative than chlorine so it can accommodate better the negative charge. Structure 3 has no formal charge.   The real molecule is a hybrid of the above Lewis structures

Please watch the following video regarding drawing Lewis structures:  



Relevant Posts - Relevant Videos

Lewis Structures|Octet Rule: A Simple Method to write Lewis Structures

Lewis Electron Dot Structure for Chlorine Dioxide Ion (ClO2+)




  1. G.N. Lewis, J.A.C.S, 38, 762-785, (1916)
  2. E. C. McGoran, J. Chem. Educ., 68, 19-23 (1991)
  3. A.B.P. Lever, J. Chem. Educ., 49, 819-821, (1972)


Key Terms

resonance structures of chlorine dioxide clo2, Lewis electron structures of chlorine dioxide , chemical formula of chlorine dioxide clo2, simple procedure for drawing Lewis structures of chlorine dioxide,



  1. Would structures 1 and 2 be more likely than 3 because oxygen carries the charge, or is it better that 3 has no charge?

    1. The most probable Lewis structure is #3 because there is no charge separation. Species with no charge are more stable and therefore less reactive. Structure #3 contributes more to the hybrid than #1 or #2.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

    1. Doesn't this molecule usually have a -1 charge? The lone electron under chlorine makes drawing the molecule's shape a little confusing.

      Sorry, I made a couple typos in the previous post

  3. The most correct structure Lewis is #3, because the Formal Charge in Cl=0 and O=0.