Problem: Use formal charges to identify the better Lewis structure.

FREE Expert Solution

We have to determine which of the given Lewis structures is a better structure.


A better Lewis structure is the one which has the smallest possible formal charges on all the atoms in the molecule.


Formal charge is the charge assigned to an atom in a Lewis structure assuming that the electrons in the chemical bonds are shared equally between atoms.

Formal charge is calculated by this formula:

Formal charge = Group # - (# of bonds + nonbonding e-)

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Problem Details

The figure shows 2 Lewis structures, both for SH3CH. Structure 1 shows that 3 hydrogen atoms and carbon atom are attached to the sulfur atom by a single bond and one hydrogen atom is attached to carbon atom. Carbon atom has 2 lone pairs of electrons. Structure 2 shows that 3 hydrogen atoms and sulfur atom are attached to the carbon atom by a single bond and one hydrogen is attached to sulfur atom. Sulfur atom has 2 lone pairs of electrons.

Use formal charges to identify the better Lewis structure.

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