Butane (C4H10) lewis structure, molecular geometry, polar or nonpolar, hybridization

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C4H10 lewis structure molecular geometry

Butane is discovered by the chemist Edward Frankland in 1849. It is composed of 4 carbon atoms and has a molecular formula C4H10. Butane has a Gasoline-like odor.

In this article, we will discuss Butane (C4H10) lewis structure, molecular geometry, polar or nonpolar, its hybridization, etc.

Butane is a colorless gas and highly flammable. At room temperature, it can quickly vaporize. Its vapors are heavier than air.  

Name of MoleculeButane
Chemical formulaC4H10
Molecular geometry of C4H10 Tetrahedral
PolarityNonpolar molecule
Total Valence electron for C4H1026

How to draw lewis structure of C4H10 (Butane)?

C4H10 Lewis structure contains four carbon atoms bonding with ten hydrogen atoms, all these are bonded with the single bonds only. The lewis structure of C4H10 has 26 bonding electrons and zero non-bonding electrons.

The drawing of the Butane (C4H10) lewis structure is an easy and simple process.

Let’s see how to do it.

Follow some steps for drawing the lewis dot structure for C4H10

1. Count total valence electron in C4H10

Finding the total valence electrons in the molecule is our topmost priority for drawing the lewis diagram. Valence electrons are the outermost electrons of an atom that can help in the formation of the chemical bond.

Now we have to find the valence electron in the C4H10 molecule. To do this, look at the group number of carbon and hydrogen.

As carbon atom belongs to group 14th in the periodic table and hydrogen is situated in 1st group, hence, the valence electron for carbon is 4 and for the hydrogen atom, it is only 1.

⇒ Total number of the valence electrons in carbon = 4

⇒ Total number of the valence electrons in hydrogen = 1

∴ Total number of valence electron available for the C4H10 Lewis structure = 4(4) + 1(10) = 26 valence electrons         [∴ C4H10 molecule has four carbon and ten hydrogen atoms]

valence electron in c4h10 lewis structure

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

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

So, in the C4H10 molecule, two types of atoms are present – Hydrogen and Carbon. It should be noted that in the lewis diagram, hydrogen atoms always go outside means they always hold the place of the surrounding position, no matter what’s the situation is.

The hydrogen can never be the central atom since it can form a maximum of one covalent bond.

Therefore, place all four carbon atoms are in a central position and all ten hydrogens at surrounding to it as shown in the figure below.

central atom in c4h10 lewis structure

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

In the third step, draw a single bond to connect all outer atoms to the central atom.

So, in the case of the C4H10 molecule, place the single bond between each carbon and hydrogen atom. also, connect all four carbon atoms(in central position) with each other by a single bond.

Butane (C4H10) lewis structure

Butane (C4H10) Lewis structure

That’s all, now count the valence electrons used in the above structure.

A single bond contains two electrons, and, in the above structure, 13 single bonds are used, hence, (13 × 2) = 26 valence electrons are used in the above structure.

We had a total of 26 valence electrons available for the C4H10 Lewis structure, and in the above structure, we used all 26 valence electrons.

∴ (26 – 26) = 0 valence electrons

Therefore, we have drawn successfully lewis’s structure of C4H10, now check the formal charge to verify its stability.

4. 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 = (valence electrons – nonbonding electrons –  1/2 bonding electrons)

Nonbonding electrons mean lone pair electrons, there is zero lone pair in the C4H10 Lewis structure.

Let’s count the formal charge on the hydrogen atom first, all hydrogen atoms in the C4H10 Lewis structure(3rd step) have the same bonded electrons, so, just count the F.C. for the one hydrogen atom.

For hydrogen atom:

⇒ Valence electrons of hydrogen = 1

⇒ Nonbonding electrons on hydrogen= 0

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

∴ (1 – 0 – 2/2) = 0 formal charge on all hydrogen atoms.

 For carbon atom

⇒ Valence electrons of carbon = 4

⇒ Nonbonding electrons on carbon = 0

⇒ Bonding electrons around carbon (4 single bonds) = 8

∴ (4 – 0 – 8/2) = 0 formal charge on the carbon atom.

formal charge in butane lewis structure

So, the above lewis structure of Butane (C4H10) is the best and stable as all atoms have zero formal charges.

Also check – 

What is the molecular geometry of C4H10 (Butane)?

The molecular geometry of Butane (C4H10) is tetrahedral with respect to each carbon atom since it is attached with four bonded pairs and contains no lone pair electrons, which means, it forms an AX4 type molecule.

A = central atom

X = Bonded pair attached to the Central atom

According to VSEPR theory or chart, the AX4 type molecule will form a tetrahedral geometry.

Molecular geometry or shape of C4H10 (butane)

Hybridization of C4H10

Let’s find the hybridization of C4H10 through the steric number of its central atom.

“Steric number is the addition of a total number of bonded atoms around a central atom and the lone pair present on it.”

∴ Steric number of C4H10 = (Number of bonded atoms attached to carbon + Lone pair on carbon)

As per the lewis structure of C4H10, all four carbon central atoms is attached with 4 bonded pair and contain no lone pair of electrons. 

∴ Steric number of C4H10 = (4 + 0) = 4

Steric numberHybridization

So, the hybridization of Butane (C4H10) is Sp3 for all four carbon atoms.

Butane polarity: is C4H10 polar or nonpolar?

Is Butane (C4H10) polar or non-polar? Butane (C4H10) is a nonpolar molecule because the difference in electronegativity between carbon(2.55) and hydrogen(2.2) is less than 0.5, which is way lower to form a polar bond according to the Pauling scale.

So, all the types of bonds in C4H10 such as C-H and C-C are nonpolar because of their low electronegativity difference which prevents the formation of dipole moment, resulting in the overall nonpolar Butane molecule.

Also check-


How many bonding electrons are present in the C4H10 Lewis structure?

Bonding electrons that take part in the formation of bonds and are represented as single, double, or triple bonds between the atoms in the lewis diagram.

So, as per the C4H10 Lewis structure, there are 13 single bonds are present means 13 bonded pair that contains 26 bonding electrons.

How many lone pair or nonbonding electrons are present in the C4H10 Lewis structure?

The nonbonding are lone pairs that do not take part in the formation of bonds and are represented as dots in the lewis diagram.

By looking at the C4H10 Lewis structure, we see there are no dots, all it has is single bonds that represent only bonding electrons.

So, in the Butane Lewis structure, the number of nonbonding or lone pair electrons is zero.

Also Read:

Properties of Butane

  • Its boiling point varies from −1 to 1 °C and its melting point is −140 to −134 °C.
  • It has an odor like gasoline or natural gas.
  • It causes frostbite when in contact with liquid.
  • It is transported as a liquefied gas under its vapor pressure.
  • The vapor of air is less heavy than the vapor of butane.
  • It is a group member of liquefied petroleum gas.
  • It is highly flammable and very less soluble in water.
  • It is an environmentally friendly gas because it does not produce smoke on burning, hence, doesn’t affect the ozone layer.

Uses of Butane

  1. It is used as a feedstock for the manufacture of ethylene.
  2. It is used as fuel gas for various purposes.
  3. It is used in refrigerants and in air conditioning systems as well.
  4. It is one of the important raw materials used in the manufacturing of synthetic rubber.
  5. It is used in cigarette lighters and in deodorants as well.
  6. In its purest forms, it is used as a solvent in cannabis oils.

Reactions of Butane

When Butane undergoes oxidation(when oxygen is sufficient), it forms carbon dioxide and water vapor.

The chemical reaction includes 2 moles of Butane reacting with 13 moles of oxygen results in the formation of 8 moles of carbon dioxide and 10 moles of water vapor.

⇒ 2C4H10 + 13O2 → 8CO2 + 10H2O

Now, in the same chemical reaction, when the oxygen is limited, the carbon monoxide formed as a product.

⇒ 2C4H10 + 9O2 → 8CO + 10H2O

When Butane reacts with elementary chlorine, it yields, 1 mole of butyl chloride and 1 mole of hydrogen chloride.

⇒ C4H10 + Cl2 → C4H9Cl + HCl

Same with the above reaction, when butane reacts with the one mole of iodine, it forms, 2-iodobutane and hydrogen iodide.

⇒ C4H10 + I2 → C4H9I + HI 


  • The total valence electron is available for drawing the Butane ( C4H10) Lewis structure is 26.
  • The molecular geometry of C4H10 with respect to the carbon atom is tetrahedral.
  • The lewis structure of C4H10 has 13 bonding pairs and zero lone pairs.
  • All four carbon atoms in Butane forms Sp3 hybridization.
  • Butane (C4H10) is a nonpolar molecule because of the very low difference in electronegativity between the atoms which prevents the formation of dipole moment, resulting, in the overall nonpolar molecule.

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