Boron trichloride (BCl3) lewis dot structure, molecular geometry, polar or nonpolar, hybridization, Bond angle

Home BCl3 lewis structure and its molecular geometry/shape

BCl3 lewis structure molecular geometry

Boron trichloride is also known as Trichloroborane has the chemical formula BCl3. It is a colorless gas with a pungent odor.

In this tutorial, we will discuss Boron trichloride (BCl3) lewis structure, molecular geometry, Bond angle, hybridization, polar or nonpolar, etc.

Bromide trichloride is corrosive to metal and tissue. It is toxic and nonflammable in nature.

Name of MoleculeBoron trichloride
Chemical formulaBCl3
Molecular geometry of BCl3Trigonal planar
Electron geometry of BCl3Trigonal planar
HybridizationSp2
Bond angle (Cl-B-Cl)120º
NatureNonpolar
Total Valence electron in BCl324
Overall Formal charge in BCl3Zero

How to draw lewis structure of BCl3 (Boron trichloride)?

Boron trichloride (BCl3) lewis structure comprises of three B-Cl bonds, with boron in a central position and all three chlorine as outer atoms in the lewis diagram. The lewis dot structure of BCl3 contains a total of 3 bond pairs and 9 lone pairs.

The drawing of the BCl3 lewis’s structure is very easy and simple. Let’s see how to do it.

Steps for drawing the Lewis dot structure for BCl3

1. Count total valence electron in BCl3

First of all, determine the valence electron that is available for drawing the lewis structure of BCl3 because the lewis diagram is all about the representation of valence electrons around atoms.

So, an easy way to find the valence electron of atoms in the BCl3 molecule is, just to look at the periodic group of boron and chlorine atoms.

As the boron atom belongs to the 13th group in the periodic table and chlorine is situated in the 17th group, hence, the valence electron for the boron is 3, and for the chlorine atom, it is 7.

⇒ Total number of the valence electrons in boron = 3

⇒ Total number of the valence electrons in chlorine = 7

∴ Total number of valence electron available for the BCl3 Lewis structure = 3 + 7×3 = 24 valence electrons         [∴ BCl3 molecule has one boron and three chlorine atoms]

valence electrons in BCl3 lewis structure

2. Find the least electronegative atom and place it at center

An atom with a less electronegative value is preferable for the central position in the lewis diagram because they are more prone to share the electrons with surrounding atoms.

In the case of the BCl3 molecule, the boron atom is less electronegative than the chlorine atom.

Hence, put the boron atom at the central position of the lewis diagram and all three chlorine atoms outside to it.

least electronegative atom in BCl3

3. Connect outer atoms to central atom with a single bond

In this step, join all outer atoms to the central atom with the help of a single bond.

In, the BCl3 molecule, chlorine is the outer atom, and boron is the central atom. Hence, joined them as shown in the figure given below.

bcl3 skeletal structure

Count the number of valence electrons used in the above structure. There are 3 single bonds used in the above structure, and one single bond means 2 electrons.

Hence, in the above structure, (3 × 2) = 6 valence electrons are used from a total of 24 valence electrons available for drawing the BCl3 Lewis structure.

∴ (24 – 6) = 18 valence electrons

So, we are left with 18 valence electrons more.

4. Place remaining electrons on the outer atom first and complete their octet

Let’s start putting the remaining valence electrons on outer atoms first. In the case of the BCl3 molecule, chlorine is the outer atom and each of them needs 8 electrons in their valence shell to complete the octet.

Start putting the remaining electrons on chlorine atoms as dots till they complete their octet.

BCl3 lewis dot structure

So, all chlorine atoms in the above structure completed their octet, because all of them have 8 electrons(6 electrons represented as dots + 2 electrons in every single bond) in their outermost shell.

Now again count the valence electron in the above structure.

In the above structure, there is 18 electrons are represented as dots + three single bonds that contain 6 electrons means a total of 24 valence electrons is used in the above structure.

So, we have used all the valence electrons available for drawing the lewis structure of BCl3.

We don’t have any extra valence electrons left and the central atom boron has only 6 electrons(3 single bonds) in its valence shell.

It should be noted that Boron is exceptional to the octet rule as it can have 8 electrons or less than 8 electrons in the outermost shell to attain stability. Boron is an exception just like aluminum where it can be octet deficient.

Octet deficient molecules are the molecules that can attains the stability by having less than 8 electrons around the atoms. Some examples – Boron, beryllium, aluminium, hydrogen, lithium, helium

But boron and aluminium is two most common element that can fail to complete the octet as they attains stability having only 6 valence electrons.

Let’s check the formal charge for the above structure to verify it’s stable or not.

5. Check the stability with the help of a formal charge concept

The lesser the formal charge on atoms, the better is the stability of the lewis diagram.

To calculate the formal charge on an atom. Use the formula given below-

formal charge formula for lewis diagram

⇒ Formal charge = (valence electrons – nonbonding electrons –   1/2 bonding electrons)

Let’s count the formal charge for the 4th step structure.

 For chlorine atom

⇒ Valence electrons of chlorine = 7

⇒ Nonbonding electrons on chlorine = 6

⇒ Bonding electrons around chlorine (1 single bond) = 2

∴ (7 – 6 – 2/2) = 0 formal charge on the chlorine atoms.

 For boron atom

⇒ Valence electrons of boron = 3

⇒ Nonbonding electrons on boron = 0

⇒ Bonding electrons around boron (3 single bonds) = 6

∴ (3 – 0 – 6/2) = 0 formal charge on the boron central atom.

Boron trichloride (BCl3) lewis structure

BCl3 Lewis structure

Hence, in the above BCl3 lewis dot structure, all atoms get a formal charge equal to zero. Even the boron central atom has only 6 electrons instead of 8 in the valence shell, it also gets a formal charge equal to zero.

We have no required to form multiple bonds and provide boron atom to 8 electrons in its valence shell.

The boron can achieve stability by just having 6 electrons in the valence shell.

Therefore, the above lewis structure of BCl3 (Boron trichloride) is most stable and appropriate in nature.

Also check –  

What are the electron and molecular geometry of BCl3?

The molecular geometry of BCl3 is trigonal planar. Since the Boron (B) central atom is attached to three chlorine atoms (Cl) and it has no lone pairs. So, there are three regions of electron density (all three are bonding regions) around the Boron central atom.

According to the VSEPR theory, the central atom with three bonding regions of electron density adopts a trigonal planar geometry. Because repulsion is minimum in three electron pairs at this position.

“A region of electron density means the group of bonding or nonbonding electrons that present around the atom. The single bond, double bond, or even triple bond around the atom will be counted as one region.”

why molecular geometry of BCl3 is trigonal planar

The electron pair around the Boron central atom will repel each other and tried to go far from each other, they will take the position where repulsion becomes minimum between them.

According to the VSEPR theory, “the maximum distance three regions of electron density can get away from affords a geometry called Trigonal planar.”

Molecular geometry or shape of BCl3

Therefore, the molecular geometry or shape of BCl3 is Trigonal planar.

We can also find the electron and molecular geometry of BCl3 using the AXN method and VSEPR chart.

AXN method to determine the molecular geometry

AXN is a simple formula that represents the number of the bonded atom and lone pair on the central atom to predict the shape of the molecule using the VSEPR chart.

AXN notation for BCl3 molecule:

  • A denotes the central atom, so, Boron is the central atom in BCl3 molecule A = Boron
  • X denotes the bonded atoms to the central atom, Boron is bonded with three chlorine atoms. Therefore, X = 3
  • N represents the lone pair on the central atom, as per BCl3 Lewis structure, the Boron central atom has zero lone pair. Hence, N = 0

So, the AXN generic formula for the BCl3 molecule becomes AX3N0 or AX3.

As per the VSEPR chart, if a molecule gets AX3 generic formula then its molecular geometry will be trigonal planar and electron geometry will also be trigonal planar.

BCl3 molecular and electron geometry

Therefore, the molecular geometry for BCl3 is trigonal planar and its electron geometry is also trigonal planar.

Hybridization of BCl3

The hybridization of BCl3 is Sp2 because the steric number of the boron central atom is three.

The formula for calculating the steric number is-

steric number to calculate hybridization

Steric number = (Number of bonded atoms attached to central atom + Lone pair on central atom)

In the case of the BCl3 molecule, boron is the central atom that is attached to the three bonded atoms(chlorine) and it has no lone pairs.

Hence, (3 + 0) = 3 is the steric number of central atom boron in the BCl3 molecule that gives Sp2 hybridization.

Steric numberHybridization
1S
2Sp
3Sp²
4Sp³
5Sp³d
6Sp³d²

The bond angle of BCl3

Since, we know, the molecular geometry of BCl3 is Trigonal planar, which means, all the atoms lie in the same plane. The three B-Cl bonds are arranged in the same plane with a 120º bond angle to each other.

∴ The Cl-B-Cl bond angle in BCl3 is 120º.

BCl3 bond angle

Is BCl3 polar or nonpolar?

So, Is BCl3 polar or nonpolar? Well, it is obvious that BCl3 is a nonpolar molecule, because each B-Cl bond is directed at the angle of 120° to each other in a plane, hence, canceling of dipole moment generated along these bonds is very easy.

Therefore, no dipole moment is generated in the BCl3 molecule, hence, it is nonpolar in nature.

Also, the molecular geometry of BCl3 is very symmetrical since no lone pair is present on the central atom that can cause distortion in a molecule, so, the charges are distributed uniformly all over the atoms.

Hence, the dipole generated in the BCl3 molecule will easily cancel out each other leaving this molecule nonpolar in nature.

FAQ

How many lone pairs are present in the lewis structure of BCl3?

Lone pairs are those represented as dots in the lewis diagram that do not take part in the formation of bonds and are also called nonbonding electrons.

By looking at the BCl3 Lewis structure, we see, there are 18 dot electrons means 9 lone pairs present. [∴ 2 dot electrons means one lone pair).

So, in the BCl3 Lewis structure, a total of 9 lone pairs are present. (3 lone pairs on each chlorine atom)

lone pair in BCl3 lewis structure

The total number of bond pairs present in the lewis structure of BCl3?

Bonding pairs are the pair of electrons that are in a bond. A single bond has one bond pair means 2 bonding electrons. 

Two bonding electron between the atoms forms a single covalent bond.

Now, as per the BCl3 Lewis structure, the central atom boron is attached with three single covalent bonds, and one single covalent bond means 2 bonding electrons.

Hence, total bonding electrons is (3 × 2) = 6 bonding electrons that make 3 bond pairs.

∴ In the BCl3 Lewis structure, a total of 3 bond pairs is present.

bond pair in BCl3 lewis structure

Why electron and molecular geometry of BCl3 are same?

Two types of geometry can be predicted with the help of VSEPR theory- (a). Electron geometry (b). Molecular geometry

Electron geometry considers all electrons(Bonding and Lone pair electrons) whereas molecular geometry considers only Bonding pairs to determine the geometry of any molecule.

As we know, the molecular geometry of BCl3 is trigonal planar and electron geometry is also trigonal planar. 

Since there is no lone pair present on the central atom in the BCl3 lewis structure. Therefore, both the molecular and electrons geometry of BCl3 will be calculated with the help of bonded pair of electrons.

Hence, the molecular geometry and electron geometry of BCl3 is the same.

Why Boron central atom of the BCl3 lewis structure complete the octet in just 6 electrons?

In the case of the BCl3 Lewis structure, the Boron central atom gets a formal charge equal to zero when it has 6 electrons around. But when a Boron central atom is distributed with 8 electrons it gets an uneven formal charge.

Hence, we have to choose the lewis diagram that has the least formal charge on each atom, Therefore, the Boron central atom is provided with only 6 electrons instead of 8 for completing the octet shell.

Boron is exceptional to the octet rule, just like Aluminum.

Why the molecular geometry of BCl3 is Trigonal planar?

The molecular geometry of BCl3 is Trigonal planar, because, the central atom Boron is attached with three bonded regions, they will repel each other as much as possible.

According to VSEPR theory, the three bonded regions can be at a maximum distance from each other when they afford a geometry called Trigonal planar.

Also Read:

Properties and uses of Boron trichloride

  • It is a colorless gas with a pungent odor.
  • It forms fumes in the air and can cause irritation in the eyes and mucous membranes.
  • It is soluble in ethanol and carbon tetrachloride.
  • In organic synthesis, it acts as a reagent.
  • It is used as a catalyst in many reactions.
  • It is used as a material in the production of elemental boron.
  • On exposure to alcohol, it can form hydrogen chloride which is very dangerous.
  • It is also used in plasma etching in semiconductor manufacturing.

Reactions of Boron trichloride

Boron trichloride is directly produced by the “chlorination of boron oxide and carbon at 501 °C”.

⇒ B2O3 + 3C + 3Cl2 → 2BCl3 + 3CO

Boron trichloride can undergo hydrolysis, and gives hydrochloric acid and boric acid.

⇒ BCl3 + 3 H2O → B(OH)3 + 3 HCl

Boron trichloride can be changed into “diboron tetrachloride by heating with copper metal”.

⇒ 2BCl3 + 2Cu → B2Cl4 + 2CuCl

Summary

  • The total valence electron available for drawing the Boron trichloride (BCl3) Lewis structure is 24.
  • The hybridization of boron in BCl3 is sp2. Since its steric number is 3.
  • The bond angle in BCl3 is 120º. According to VSEPR, the BCl3 has a Trigonal planar geometry with each Cl-B-Cl bond angle equal to 120º.
  • The net dipole moment of BCl3 is zero, hence, it is nonpolar in nature.
  • The overall formal charge in BCl3 is zero.
  • The molecular geometry or shape of BCl3 is a trigonal planar and its electron geometry is also trigonal planar.
  • BCl3 Lewis dot structure contains a total of 9 lone pairs and 3 bond pairs.
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