# CF3- Lewis structure

CF3 has one carbon atom and three fluorine atoms.

In CF3 Lewis structure, there are three single bonds around the carbon atom, with three fluorine atoms attached to it. Each fluorine atom has three lone pairs, and the carbon atom has one lone pair.

Also, there is a negative (-1) charge on the carbon atom.

Contents

## Steps

Here’s how you can easily draw the CF3 Lewis structure step by step:

#1 Draw a rough skeleton structure
#2 Mention lone pairs on the atoms
#3 If needed, mention formal charges on the atoms

Now, let’s take a closer look at each step mentioned above.

### #1 Draw a rough skeleton structure

• First, determine the total number of valence electrons

In the periodic table, carbon lies in group 14, and fluorine lies in group 17.

Hence, carbon has four valence electrons and fluorine has seven valence electrons.

Since CF3 has one carbon atom and three fluorine atoms, so…

Valence electrons of one carbon atom = 4 × 1 = 4
Valence electrons of three fluorine atoms = 7 × 3 = 21

Now the CF3 has a negative (-1) charge, so we have to add one more electron.

So the total valence electrons = 4 + 21 + 1 = 26

• Second, find the total electron pairs

We have a total of 26 valence electrons. And when we divide this value by two, we get the value of total electron pairs.

Total electron pairs = total valence electrons ÷ 2

So the total electron pairs = 26 ÷ 2 = 13

• Third, determine the central atom

We have to place the least electronegative atom at the center.

Since carbon is less electronegative than fluorine, assume that the central atom is carbon.

Therefore, place carbon in the center and fluorines on either side.

• And finally, draw the rough sketch

### #2 Mention lone pairs on the atoms

Here, we have a total of 13 electron pairs. And three C — F bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining ten electron pairs as lone pairs on the sketch.

Also remember that both (carbon and fluorine) are the period 2 elements, so they can not keep more than 8 electrons in their last shell.

Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are fluorines.

So for each fluorine, there are three lone pairs, and for carbon, there is one lone pair.

Mark the lone pairs on the sketch as follows:

### #3 If needed, mention formal charges on the atoms

Use the following formula to calculate the formal charges on atoms:

Formal charge = valence electrons – nonbonding electrons – ½ bonding electrons

For carbon atom, formal charge = 4 – 2 – ½ (6) = -1

For each fluorine atom, formal charge = 7 – 6 – ½ (2) = 0

Here, the carbon atom has a charge, so mark it on the sketch as follows:

In the above structure, you can see that the central atom (carbon) forms an octet. And the outside atoms (fluorines) also form an octet. Hence, the octet rule is satisfied.

Now there is still a negative (-1) charge on the carbon atom.

This is not okay, right? Because the structure with a negative charge on the most electronegative atom is the best Lewis structure. And in this case, the most electronegative element is fluorine.

But if we convert a lone pair of the carbon atom to make a new C — F bond with the fluorine atom, and calculate the formal charge, then we do not get the formal charges on atoms closer to zero.

And the structure with the formal charges on atoms closer to zero is the best Lewis structure.

Therefore, this structure is the most stable Lewis structure of CF3.

And since the CF3 has a negative (-1) charge, mention that charge on the Lewis structure by drawing brackets as follows:

Next: CCl2 Lewis structure