CHF3 (fluoroform) has one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom, and three fluorine atoms. In the lewis structure of CHF3, there are four single bonds around the carbon atom, with one hydrogen atom and three fluorine atoms attached to it, and on each fluorine atom, there are three lone pairs.
Here’s how you can draw the CHF3 lewis structure step by step.
Step #1: draw sketch
Step #2: mark lone pairs
Step #3: mark charges (if there are)
Let’s break down each step in detail.
#1 Draw Sketch
- First, determine the total number of valence electrons
Hence, carbon has four valence electrons, hydrogen has one valence electron, and fluorine has seven valence electrons.
Since CHF3 has one carbon atom, one hydrogen atom, and three fluorine atoms, so…
Valence electrons of one carbon atom = 4 × 1 = 4
Valence electrons of one hydrogen atom = 1 × 1 = 1
Valence electrons of three fluorine atoms = 7 × 3 = 21
And the total valence electrons = 4 + 1 + 21 = 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
Here hydrogen can not be the central atom. Because the central atom is bonded with at least two other atoms, and hydrogen has only one electron in its last shell, so it can not make more than one bond.
Now we have to choose the central atom from carbon and fluorine. 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 hydrogen and fluorine on either side.
- And finally, draw the rough sketch
#2 Mark Lone Pairs
Here, we have a total of 13 electron pairs. And four bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining nine 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. And hydrogen is a period 1 element, so it can not keep more than 2 electrons in its last shell.
Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are hydrogen and fluorines. But no need to mark on hydrogen, because hydrogen already has two electrons.
So for each fluorine, there are three lone pairs, and for carbon, there is zero lone pair because all nine electron pairs are over.
Mark the lone pairs on the sketch as follows:
#3 Mark Charges
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 – 0 – ½ (8) = 0
For hydrogen atom, formal charge = 1 – 0 – ½ (2) = 0
For each fluorine atom, formal charge = 7 – 6 – ½ (2) = 0
Here, the atoms do not have charges, so no need to mark the charges.
And in the above structure, you can see that the central atom (carbon) forms an octet. Hence, the octet rule is satisfied.
Therefore, this structure is the stable lewis structure of CHF3.
Next: CF3Cl Lewis Structure