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Shapes of Molecules
The arrangement of the electrons in methane can be represented by a dot-cross diagram.

There are four groups of electrons around the central carbon atom ­ the four
covalent bonding pairs.

Because similar charges repel, these group of electrons arrange themselves so that they
are as far…

Page 2

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2 Electron Pairs around a Central Atom
Linear molecules have two electron pairs surrounding a central atom.

Because there are fewer groups of electrons they can get further apart.

The furthest apart they can get is at an angle of 180.



Number of electron pairs Angle Shape
2 180: Linear…

Page 3

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3 Electron Pairs around a Central Atom
Planar molecules have three electron pairs surrounding a central atom.

The furthest apart they can get is at an angle of 120°.



Number of electron pairs Angle Shape
3 120: Planar




F F

B

F

The central atom of BF3 is B.

It…

Page 4

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4 Electron Pairs around a Central Atom
Tetrahedral molecules have four electron pairs surrounding a central atom.

The furthest apart they can get is at an angle of 109°.



Number of electron pairs Angle Shape
4 109: Tetrahedral




H


C
H H
H

The central atom of CH4 is C.…

Page 5

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5 Electron Pairs around a Central Atom
Bipyramidal molecules have five electron pairs surrounding a central atom.

The furthest apart they can get is at an angle of 120° or 90°.



Number of electron pairs Angle Shape
4 120: or 90° Bipyramidal




Cl
Cl
Cl P Cl


Cl


The central…

Page 6

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6 Electron Pairs around a Central Atom
Octahedral molecules have six electron pairs surrounding a central atom.

The furthest apart they can get is at an angle of 90°.



Number of electron pairs Angle Shape
6 90° Octahedral




F
F F
I
F F
F

The central atom of IF6…

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