Problem: What is the geometry of the HCN molecule?

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FREE Expert Solution

The possible electron pair and molecular geometries are:




For HCN

Step 1: Hydrogen cannot function as the central atom. Carbon (EN = 2.55) is less electronegative than N (EN = 3.04): C is the central atom.


Step 2: We need to determine the total number of valence electrons present in the molecule:


            Group             Valence Electrons

H        1A                   1 × 1 e1 e

C        4A                   1 × 4 e4 e

N        5A                   1 × 5 e5 e

Total:  10 valence e


Step 3: The Lewis structure of HCN is:

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What is the geometry of the HCN molecule?

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Albright's class at UMICH.