Shapes of molecules

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Shapes of Molecules

The electron pair repulsion theory

The shape of a molecule or ion is governed by the arrangement of the electron pairs around the central atom. All you need to do is to work out how many electron pairs there are at the bonding level, and then arrange them to produce the minimum amount of repulsion between them. You have to include both bonding pairs and lone pairs.

Remember this:

Greatest repulsion

                            lone pair - lone pair 
                            lone pair - bond pair 
                            bond pair - bond pair 

Least repulsion

Click here to download the notes on shape of molecule

Click here to have a summary sheet showing the main shapes adopted by molecules

The animations

To view animations of the shape of molecules click on the name:

or else click in the link [here]