GeCl4 (germanium tetrachloride) has one germanium atom and four chlorine atoms. In the lewis structure of GeCl4, there are four single bonds around the germanium atom, with four chlorine atoms attached to it, and on each chlorine atom, there are three lone pairs.
Here’s how you can draw the GeCl4 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, germanium has four valence electrons and chlorine has seven valence electrons.
Since GeCl4 has one germanium atom and four chlorine atoms, so…
Valence electrons of one germanium atom = 4 × 1 = 4
Valence electrons of four chlorine atoms = 7 × 4 = 28
And the total valence electrons = 4 + 28 = 32
- Second, find the total electron pairs
We have a total of 32 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 = 32 ÷ 2 = 16
- Third, determine the central atom
We have to place the least electronegative atom at the center.
Since germanium is less electronegative than chlorine, assume that the central atom is germanium.
Therefore, place germanium in the center and chlorines on either side.
- And finally, draw the rough sketch
#2 Mark Lone Pairs
Here, we have a total of 16 electron pairs. And four Ge — Cl bonds are already marked. So we have to only mark the remaining twelve electron pairs as lone pairs on the sketch.
Always start to mark the lone pairs from outside atoms. Here, the outside atoms are chlorines.
So for each chlorine, there are three lone pairs, and for germanium, there is zero lone pair because all twelve 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 germanium atom, formal charge = 4 – 0 – ½ (8) = 0
For each chlorine atom, formal charge = 7 – 6 – ½ (2) = 0
Here, both germanium and chlorine atoms do not have charges, so no need to mark the charges.
And in the above structure, you can see that the central atom (germanium) forms an octet. Hence, the octet rule is satisfied.
Therefore, this structure is the stable lewis structure of GeCl4.
Next: Lewis Structure of CH3+