ClO2– (chlorite) has one chlorine atom and two oxygen atoms. In the lewis structure of ClO2–, there is one single bond and one double bond around the chlorine atom, with two oxygen atoms attached to it. The oxygen atom with a single bond has three lone pairs, and the oxygen atom with a double bond has two lone pairs.
Also, there is a negative (-1) charge on the oxygen atom with a single bond.
Here’s how you can draw the ClO2– lewis structure step by step.
Step #1: draw sketch
Step #2: mark lone pairs
Step #3: mark charges
Step #4: minimize charges
Step #5: minimize charges again (if there are)
Let’s break down each step in detail.
#1 Draw Sketch
- First, determine the total number of valence electrons
Hence, chlorine has seven valence electrons and oxygen has six valence electrons.
Since ClO2– has one chlorine atom and two oxygen atoms, so…
Valence electrons of one chlorine atom = 7 × 1 = 7
Valence electrons of two oxygen atoms = 6 × 2 = 12
Now the ClO2– has a negative (-1) charge, so we have to add one more electron.
So the total valence electrons = 7 + 12 + 1 = 20
- Second, find the total electron pairs
We have a total of 20 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 = 20 ÷ 2 = 10
- Third, determine the central atom
We have to place the least electronegative atom at the center.
Since chlorine is less electronegative than oxygen, assume that the central atom is chlorine.
Therefore, place chlorine in the center and oxygens on either side.
- And finally, draw the rough sketch
#2 Mark Lone Pairs
Here, we have a total of 10 electron pairs. And two Cl — O bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining eight electron pairs as lone pairs on the sketch.
Also remember that chlorine is a period 3 element, so it can keep more than 8 electrons in its last shell. And oxygen is a period 2 element, so it can not keep more than 8 electrons in its last shell.
Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are oxygens.
So for each oxygen, there are three lone pairs, and for chlorine, there are two lone pairs.
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 chlorine atom, formal charge = 7 – 4 – ½ (4) = +1
For each oxygen atom, formal charge = 6 – 6 – ½ (2) = -1
Here, both chlorine and oxygen atoms have charges, so mark them on the sketch as follows:
The above structure is not a stable lewis structure because both chlorine and oxygen atoms have charges. Therefore, reduce the charges (as below) by converting lone pairs to bonds.
#4 Minimize Charges
Convert a lone pair of the oxygen atom to make a new Cl — O bond with the chlorine atom as follows:
In the above structure, you can see that the central atom (chlorine) forms an octet. Hence, the octet rule is satisfied.
Now there is still a negative (-1) charge on the oxygen atom.
This is okay, 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 oxygen.
Also, the above structure is more stable than the previous structures. Therefore, this structure is the most stable lewis structure of ClO2–.
And since the ClO2– has a negative (-1) charge, mention that charge on the lewis structure by drawing brackets as follows:
Next: ClO3– Lewis Structure