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By the end of this section, you will be able to:
  • Write Lewis symbols for neutral atoms and ions
  • Draw Lewis structures depicting the bonding in simple molecules

Thus far in this chapter, we have discussed the various types of bonds that form between atoms and/or ions. In all cases, these bonds involve the sharing or transfer of valence shell electrons between atoms. In this section, we will explore the typical method for depicting valence shell electrons and chemical bonds, namely Lewis symbols and Lewis structures.

Lewis symbols

We use Lewis symbols to describe valence electron configurations of atoms and monatomic ions. A Lewis symbol    consists of an elemental symbol surrounded by one dot for each of its valence electrons:

A Lewis structure of calcium is shown. A lone pair of electrons are shown to the right of the symbol.

[link] shows the Lewis symbols for the elements of the third period of the periodic table.

A table is shown that has three columns and nine rows. The header row reads “Atoms,” “Electronic Configuration,” and “Lewis Symbol.” The first column contains the words “sodium,” “magnesium,” “aluminum,” “silicon,” “phosphorus,” “sulfur,” “chlorine,” and “argon.” The second column contains the symbols and numbers “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2,” “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 1,” “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 2,” “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 3,” “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 4,” “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 5,” and “[ N e ] 3 s superscript 2, 3 p superscript 6.” The third column contains Lewis structures for N a with one dot, M g with two dots, A l with three dots, Si with four dots, P with five dots, S with six dots, C l with seven dots, and A r with eight dots.
Lewis symbols illustrating the number of valence electrons for each element in the third period of the periodic table.

Lewis symbols can also be used to illustrate the formation of cations from atoms, as shown here for sodium and calcium:

Two diagrams are shown. The left diagram shows a Lewis dot structure of sodium with one dot, then a right-facing arrow leading to a sodium symbol with a superscripted plus sign, a plus sign, and the letter “e” with a superscripted negative sign. The terms below this diagram read “Sodium atom” and “Sodium cation.” The right diagram shows a Lewis dot structure of calcium with two dots, then a right-facing arrow leading to a calcium symbol with a superscripted two and a plus sign, a plus sign, and the value “2e” with a superscripted negative sign. The terms below this diagram read “Calcium atom” and “Calcium cation.”

Likewise, they can be used to show the formation of anions from atoms, as shown here for chlorine and sulfur:

Two diagrams are shown. The left diagram shows a Lewis dot structure of chlorine with seven dots and the letter “e” with a superscripted negative sign, then a right-facing arrow leading to a chlorine symbol with eight dots and a superscripted negative sign. The terms below this diagram read, “Chlorine atom,” and, “Chlorine anion.” The right diagram shows a Lewis dot structure of sulfur with six dots and the symbol “2e” with a superscripted negative sign, then a right-facing arrow leading to a sulfur symbol with eight dots and a superscripted two and negative sign. The terms below this diagram read, “Sulfur atom,” and, “Sulfur anion.”

[link] demonstrates the use of Lewis symbols to show the transfer of electrons during the formation of ionic compounds.

A table is shown with four rows. The header row reads “Metal,” “Nonmetal,” and “Ionic Compound.” The second row shows the Lewis structures of a reaction. A sodium symbol with one dot, a plus sign, and a chlorine symbol with seven dots lie to the left of a right-facing arrow. To the right of the arrow a sodium symbol with a superscripted plus sign is drawn next to a chlorine symbol with eight dots surrounded by brackets with a superscripted negative sign. One of the dots on the C l atom is red. The terms “sodium atom,” “chlorine atom,” and “sodium chloride ( sodium ion and chloride ion )” are written under the reaction. The third row shows the Lewis structures of a reaction. A magnesium symbol with two red dots, a plus sign, and an oxygen symbol with six dots lie to the left of a right-facing arrow. To the right of the arrow a magnesium symbol with a superscripted two and a plus sign is drawn next to an oxygen symbol with eight dots, two of which are red, surrounded by brackets with a superscripted two a and a negative sign. The terms “magnesium atom,” “oxygen atom,” and “magnesium oxide ( magnesium ion and oxide ion )” are written under the reaction. The fourth row shows the Lewis structures of a reaction. A calcium symbol with two red dots, a plus sign, and a fluorine symbol with a coefficient of two and seven dots lie to the left of a right-facing arrow. To the right of the arrow a calcium symbol with a superscripted two and a plus sign is drawn next to a fluorine symbol with eight dots, one of which is red, surrounded by brackets with a superscripted negative sign and a subscripted two. The terms “calcium atom,” “fluorine atoms,” and “calcium fluoride ( calcium ion and two fluoride ions )” are written under the reaction.
Cations are formed when atoms lose electrons, represented by fewer Lewis dots, whereas anions are formed by atoms gaining electrons. The total number of electrons does not change.

Lewis structures

We also use Lewis symbols to indicate the formation of covalent bonds, which are shown in Lewis structures , drawings that describe the bonding in molecules and polyatomic ions. For example, when two chlorine atoms form a chlorine molecule, they share one pair of electrons:

A Lewis dot diagram shows a reaction. Two chlorine symbols, each surrounded by seven dots are separated by a plus sign. The dots on the first atom are all black and the dots on the second atom are all read. The phrase, “Chlorine atoms” is written below. A right-facing arrow points to two chlorine symbols, each with six dots surrounding their outer edges and a shared pair of dots in between. One of the shared dots is black and one is red. The phrase, “Chlorine molecule” is written below.

The Lewis structure indicates that each Cl atom has three pairs of electrons that are not used in bonding (called lone pairs ) and one shared pair of electrons (written between the atoms). A dash (or line) is sometimes used to indicate a shared pair of electrons:

Two Lewis structures are shown. The left-hand structure shows two H atoms connected by a single bond. The right-hand structure shows two C l atoms connected by a single bond and each surrounded by six dots.

A single shared pair of electrons is called a single bond    . Each Cl atom interacts with eight valence electrons: the six in the lone pairs and the two in the single bond.

The octet rule

The other halogen molecules (F 2 , Br 2 , I 2 , and At 2 ) form bonds like those in the chlorine molecule: one single bond between atoms and three lone pairs of electrons per atom. This allows each halogen atom to have a noble gas electron configuration. The tendency of main group atoms to form enough bonds to obtain eight valence electrons is known as the octet rule    .

The number of bonds that an atom can form can often be predicted from the number of electrons needed to reach an octet (eight valence electrons); this is especially true of the nonmetals of the second period of the periodic table (C, N, O, and F). For example, each atom of a group 14 element has four electrons in its outermost shell and therefore requires four more electrons to reach an octet. These four electrons can be gained by forming four covalent bonds, as illustrated here for carbon in CCl 4 (carbon tetrachloride) and silicon in SiH 4 (silane). Because hydrogen only needs two electrons to fill its valence shell, it is an exception to the octet rule. The transition elements and inner transition elements also do not follow the octet rule:

Questions & Answers

what is electricity
Lorrita Reply
electricity refers to the flow electrons
John
Hi. please can you tell me more on chemical equation
Gift Reply
When 1 or 2 chemicals react, they rearrange their atomic composition forming new compounds. The total mass before and after is the same/ constant. Chemical equations of same reactants react in same ratios e.g. 1 Na ion reacts with 1 water molecule or a multipier like 1 mole of Na ions react with 1
Abdelkarim
Mole of water molecules. In that example we multipied by 6.02*10^23 or avogadro constant (L). Or 2 Na+ ions with two water molecules. The arrow means '' to form '' Some times conditions or reactants are written above the arrow like H+ or enzyme or temper, sometimes physical states are written
Abdelkarim
Beside the chemical Aqueous (aq) which means solute dissolved on water. Solid (s) etc Some chemical equations are written next to it ΔH= # which means enthalpy change which describes if the reaction is endothermic (+) or exothermic (-).
Abdelkarim
Some are reversible and have half double arrow sign.
Abdelkarim
what is the meaning of atoma
Ibrahim Reply
what is theory
Michael Reply
what is chemical compound
Lorrita
A compound is the result of chemical bonding between 2 or more different elements.
Abdelkarim
difference between Amine and amide
Amadu Reply
what is the difference between alkanal and alkanone
Amadu
difference between alkanol and alkanal
Michael
whaatt
Saturday
you are not well at all
Ibrahim
is organic compounds used for drying agent
Olawale Reply
Sulfuric acid is used as a drying agent.
Abdelkarim
what is an atom
John Reply
An atom is the smallest part of an element, for instance gold atoms are the smallest part of gold that can enter a reaction. An atom must consist protons and electrons of equal number. You can think of those subatomic particles as spheres, but not orbiting randomly they move in specific way in
Abdelkarim
That was partially described mathematically. As a muslim, we believe that god created all matter from nothing. He is the Able, and only who can create matter in the begging in the big bang that was described in the Quran in chapter 17 verse 30, 1400 years ago, you can read it from internet.
Abdelkarim
what is electron affinity
John
do you have a private jet
Ibrahim
what is acid
Olubodun Reply
Proton donor (H+). Like in lemons, oranges and some medicines.
Abdelkarim
what is titration? and how can i get my readings?
favor Reply
what is electrolysis?
favor Reply
what is the formula you use when calculating for gas law?
favor
PV=nrt
Farid
electro-means electricity while lysis-means splitting up so electrolysis simply means splitting up by means of electric current
John
good day. how may I see previous question asked in this chat, please?
Asha
Asha, A person named Favor asked what is meant by the term electrolysis
John
what is gad law
Shampoo Reply
what is a sample
Dorcas Reply
According to google, a speciemen taken for specific testing or analysis.
Abdelkarim
how would you carry out a qualitative analysis for two samples of salt suspected to contain chloride ion, bromide ion,iodide ion and carbonate ion
michael Reply
You can search google for test for these ions or test for anions ingeneral which will help you as it contauns videos too.
Abdelkarim
what is acid
Olubodun
why don't you just search for what is acid
Ibrahim
This is a question you're being tested Abdelkarim stop being rude
John
an element x with electronic configurations as 2s²,2p²,3p6,combines with another element y with electronic configuration as 1s², 2p²,3p²,3p5,derive the chemical formula of the compound
Peace Reply
These electrongic configuration are entered wrong, any way, you can use an app called peridoic table 2021 that has advabced electric configuration in your studying. Use it to learn about patterns easier. And use it to solve problem: identify elements, then figure out bonding and ration for example:
Abdelkarim
The elemtents are H and S Then the formula is H2S.
Abdelkarim
an element x with electronic configurations as 2s²,2p²,3p6,combines with another element y with electronic configuration as 1s², 2p²,3p²,3p5,derive the chemical formula of the compound
Peace Reply
what is atomic number
Dorcas
It is the number of protons in the nucleus of an atom, which is unique for each element e.g only gold atoms have 79 protons in their nucleus.
Abdelkarim
hmm
favor
the number present in proton in nucleus of an atom
favor
Practice Key Terms 9

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Source:  OpenStax, Chemistry. OpenStax CNX. May 20, 2015 Download for free at http://legacy.cnx.org/content/col11760/1.9
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