GeCl4 Lewis structure

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GeCl4 Lewis Structure
GeCl4 Lewis structure

GeCl4 (germanium tetrachloride) has one germanium atom and four chlorine atoms.

In the GeCl4 Lewis structure, 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.


Use these steps to correctly draw the GeCl4 Lewis structure:

#1 First draw a rough sketch
#2 Mark lone pairs on the atoms
#3 Calculate and mark formal charges on the atoms, if required

Let’s discuss each step in more detail.

#1 First draw a rough sketch

  • First, determine the total number of valence electrons
Periodic table

In the periodic table, germanium lies in group 14, and chlorine lies in group 17.

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
GeCl4 Lewis Structure (Step 1)
Rough sketch of GeCl4 Lewis structure

#2 Mark lone pairs on the atoms

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.

Also remember that germanium is a period 4 element, so it can keep more than 8 electrons in its last shell. And chlorine is a period 3 element, so it can keep more than 8 electrons in its last shell.

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:

GeCl4 Lewis Structure (Step 2)
Lone pairs marked, and got the stable Lewis structure of GeCl4

#3 Calculate and mark formal charges on the atoms, if required

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.

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

Therefore, this structure is the stable Lewis structure of GeCl4.

Next: Lewis structure of CH3+

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