Problem: What are the formal charges on the sulfur (S), carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) atoms, respectively, in the resonance structure that contributes most to the stability of the thiocyanate ion, SCN-?The possible resonance structures for the thiocyanate ion, SCN-?

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We are being asked to determine the formal charges on the sulfur (S), carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) atoms, respectively, in the resonance structure that contributes most to the stability of the thiocyanate ion, SCN-


First, we will have to draw the Lewis Structure of SCN- and determine its resonance structures.


Step 1: Determine the central atom in this molecule.

C → least electronegative atom → central atom


Step 2: Calculate the total number of valence electrons present.          

SCN:

            Group            Valence Electrons
S         6A                   1 x 6 e- = 4 e-
C         4A                   1 x 4 e- = 6 e-
N         5A                   1 x 5 e- = 5 e-
- charge                                   + 1 e-
                                    Total: 16 valence e-


Step 3: Draw the Lewis Structure for the molecule

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Problem Details

What are the formal charges on the sulfur (S), carbon (C), and nitrogen (N) atoms, respectively, in the resonance structure that contributes most to the stability of the thiocyanate ion, SCN-?

The possible resonance structures for the thiocyanate ion, SCN-?

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What scientific concept do you need to know in order to solve this problem?

Our tutors have indicated that to solve this problem you will need to apply the Resonance Structures concept. You can view video lessons to learn Resonance Structures. Or if you need more Resonance Structures practice, you can also practice Resonance Structures practice problems.

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Based on our data, we think this problem is relevant for Professor Peterson's class at University of Dallas.