The Lewis dot structure is a visual representation of the bonds between the elements in a complex molecule and is an important visualisation tool in chemistry. Chemists use Lewis dot structures to better understand what shapes molecules form and how they interact with each other. H2SO4, better known as sulphuric acid, consists of two hydrogen atoms, one sulphur atom and four oxygen atoms. Drawing out the molecule's Lewis dot structure shows how these atoms fit together.
- Skill level:
- Moderately Easy
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Draw an S on a sheet of paper. The S represents a sulphur atom.
Write four O's around the S, so that the O's form a diamond shape surrounding the S. Draw one O directly above the S, another O below the S, and the two remaining O's to the left and to the right of the S. Draw the O's so they are all equally spaced from the S. These four O's represent oxygen atoms.
Draw an H directly to the left of the leftmost O and drawn another H directly to the right of the rightmost O. Write the H's such that there is equal space between them and the O's as between the O's and the central S. The two H's represent hydrogen atoms.
Connect the central S with the H's located the right and left of it with a single line and connect the central S with the H's located above and below it with a double line.
The single lines connecting the left and right O's to the S represent two shared electrons, while the double lines connecting the top and bottom O's to the S represent four shared electrons. The top and bottom O's share more electrons with the S than the left and right O's because the left and right O's must save some electrons to share with the H's.
Connect the left and right O's to their adjacent H's with a single line. As before, this single line represents two shared electrons.
Locate the O's to the left and right of the central S and draw two dots directly above these O's and two dots directly below them. These pairs of dots represent unpaired electrons, electrons that are not part of a bond with another molecule and that belong only to the oxygen molecule.
Locate the O's above and below the central S and draw two dots directly to the left of these O's and two dots directly to the right of them. These final dots complete the Lewis dot structure for sulphuric acid.
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