What could be the structural shape and # of areas of electron density of ClF3 according to VSEPR ?

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mvcdc eNotes educator| Certified Educator

We want to identify the shape and areas of electron density for chlorine tetrafluoride.

The central atom in this case is chlorine.

Chlorine has 7 electrons, and fluorine will contribute 1 electron to form a single bond. Hence, there are 10 electrons in all (disregarding the other 6 valence electrons surrounding each fluorine atom). Of the 7 electrons, 3 will be used to bond with fluorine. Hence, 4 are left as non-bonding electrons. These four non-bonding electrons will be the 2 lone pairs in the compound. The other three will form single bonds with the electrons of fluorine to form three single bonds. 

Hence, we have two lone pairs, and three bonds which makes a total of 5 electron domains.

Now, the shape of the molecule will be T-shaped (AX3E2, where X are the bonded atoms, E are the electron pairs).

Hence, chlorine trifluoride has 5 electron domains, 3 of which are bonding, 2 are lone pairs, and it's shape is T-shaped.

ayl0124 | Student

First, think of the Lewis Dot Structure of a ClF3 molecule. It will have two lone pairs of electrons and three single Cl-F bonds. Therefore, there are five electron domains, which correlates with trigonal bipyramidal shape. Taking the lone pairs into account, your molecular geometry according to VSEPR would be T-shaped. 

I have attached a link of a chart that displays the various molecular shapes. 

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