OCl2 lewis structure, molecular geometry, polar or nonpolar, bond angle, hybridization

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OCl2 lewis structure molecular geometry

Oxygen dichloride has the chemical formula OCl2 with a molar mass of 86.9054 g/mol. It appears as brownish-yellow gas. It is soluble in water.

In this article, we will discuss OCl2 lewis structure, molecular geometry, bond angle, polar or nonpolar, its hybridization, etc.

Oxygen dichloride is a member of the chlorine oxide family of compounds. Its structure is very similar to water, its bond angle is larger than a water molecule.

Name of MoleculeOxygen dichloride
Chemical formulaOCl2
Molecular geometry of OCl2Bent molecular geometry
Electron geometry of OCl2Tetrahedral
Bond angle110.9º 
NaturePolar molecule
Total Valence electron for OCl220

How to draw lewis structure of OCl2?

OCl2 lewis structure is made up of one oxygen (O) atom and two chlorine (Cl) atoms. The oxygen (O) is in the central position, and chlorine (Cl) atoms are on either side of it. The lewis structure of OCl2 contains 8 lone pairs(2 lone pairs on oxygen (O) atom and 3 lone pairs on each chlorine (Cl) atom.

Follow some steps for drawing the Lewis dot structure for OCl2

1. Count total valence electron in OCl2

In the first step, you need to find how many valence electrons are present in the OCl2 molecule. As oxygen belongs to the 16th group in the periodic table and chlorine is in the 17th group.

⇒ Oxygen valence electrons = 6

⇒ Chlorine valence electrons = 7

∴ Total valence electrons available for drawing the OCl2 lewis structure = 6 + 7(2) = 20 valence electrons          [∴ OCl2 molecule contains one oxygen and two chlorine]

total valence electrons in OCl2 lewis structure

2. Find the central atom

The central atom is usually the atom with the lowest subscript in the molecular formula.

So, in the OCl2 molecule, the chlorine atom has 2 subscripts, and oxygen has 1 subscript, hence, oxygen has the lowest subscript, therefore, it is the central atom and chlorine is an outer atom in the lewis diagram.

central atom in OCl2

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

In this step, we simply connect each outer atom(chlorine) to the central atom(oxygen) with the help of a single bond.

OCl2 skeletal structure

Now count the valence electron used in the above structure. A single bond means two electrons, in the above structure, two single bonds are used.

Therefore, (2 single bonds × 2) = 4 valence electrons are used in the above structure from the total of 20 valence electrons available for drawing the lewis structure of OCl2.

∴ (20 – 4) = 16 valence electrons

So, we are left with 16 valence electrons more.

4. Place remaining electrons on outer atoms and complete their octet

In this step, we will put the remaining valence electron on the outer atom first for completing their octet. In an OCl2 molecule, the outer atom is chlorine. And it requires 8 electrons in its outer shell to complete the octet.

completing octet of outer atoms in OCl2

As you see in the above figure, we have placed the 6 electrons represented as dots around each outer atom(chlorine). This is because chlorine atoms already have 2 electrons(one single bond) in their outer shell.

Hence, it only requires 6 more electrons for completing the octet.

Now once again count the total valence electron in the above structure.

(2 single bond × 2 electrons + 12 electrons represented as dots) = 16 valence electrons are used in the above structure.

Remember, we had a total of 20 valence electrons available for drawing the lewis structure of OCl2, and in the above structure, we used 16 valence electrons.

So, we are left with (20 – 16) = 4 valence electrons more.

5. Complete the octet of the central atom

Oxygen is the central atom in the OCl2 molecule. And we have 4 remaining valence electrons, hence, put these remaining valence electrons over the Oxygen central atom.

OCl2 lewis dot structure

If you look at the above structure, we see that all atoms(oxygen and chlorine) completed their octet comfortably as each of them has 8 valence electrons(electrons represented as dots + electrons in a single bond) in their outer shell.

Also, we used all 20 valence electrons that are available for OCl2.

Now we just need to check the stability of the above structure through the formal charge concept.

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

The lesser the formal charge on atoms, the better 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)

Let’s count the formal charge on the chlorine atom first(5th 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 chlorine atoms.

For oxygen atom:

⇒ Valence electrons of oxygen = 6

⇒ Nonbonding electrons on oxygen = 4

⇒ Bonding electrons around oxygen(2 single bond) = 4

∴ (6 – 4 – 4/2) = 0 formal charge on oxygen atoms.

Oxygen dichloride (OCl2) Lewis structure

OCl2 Lewis structure

So, all atoms in the above structure get a formal charge equal to zero, hence, this is our most stable and correct lewis structure of OCl2.

Also check – 

What is the molecular geometry of OCl2?

The molecular geometry of OCl2 is Bent. The central atom Oxygen (O) is bonded with two chlorine (Cl) atoms and it has 2 lone pairs as well which means, it is an AX2N2 type molecule, as per VSEPR theory, its molecular geometry or shape will be Bent, but electron geometry will be Tetrahedral.

A represent central atom

X represent the number of bonded atom to central atom

N represent the number of lone pair on central atom

According to VSEPR theory or chart, the AX2N2 type molecule forms bent molecular geometry and tetrahedral electron geometry.

OCl2 molecular geometry or shape

Hybridization of OCl2

We can calculate the hybridization of OCl2 using the steric number formula given below:

∴ Steric number of OCl2 = (Number of bonded atoms attached to oxygen + Lone pair on oxygen atom)

As per the OCl2 lewis structure, the oxygen central atom is bonded with two chlorine atoms and contains 2 lone pairs as well.

∴ Steric number of OCl2 = (2 + 2) = 4

So, for the steric number of 4, we get the hybridization of OCl2 is Sp3.

The bond angle of OCl2

The bond angle of Cl-O-Cl in OCl2 is 110.9º, “it is slightly larger than normal, likely due to steric repulsion between the bulky chlorine atoms.”

OCl2 bond angle

Also check:- How to find bond angle?

Is OCl2 polar or nonpolar?

Is OCl2 polar or non-polar? OCl2 is a polar molecule. This is because of the asymmetrical structure that causes uneven charge distribution which contributes to the nonzero dipole moment and makes this molecule (OCl2) polar in nature.

Also, the chlorine atom gets a positive charge because of its less electronegativity, and the oxygen atom gets a negative charge because of its high electronegativity.

The electronegativity for chlorine, it is 3.16, and for oxygen, it is 3.44.

The separation of positive and negative charges leads to the dipole moment in OCl2 and these dipole moments will not be canceled out because the shape of OCl2 is bent which is asymmetric, hence, there will some net dipole moment in the molecule, and this makes, OCl2 a Polar molecule.

Also check –


How many bonding pairs and lone pairs are present in the lewis structure of OCl2?

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

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 OCl2 lewis structure, we see there are 2 single bonds means 2 bonding pairs, and there are 16 dots electrons means 8 lone pairs. [∴ 2 dot electrons means one lone pair).

So, in the OCl2 lewis structure, there are 8 lone pairs and 2 bonding pairs present.

Why the molecular geometry of OCl2 is Bent?

The molecular geometry of OCl2 is bent, because, of the presence of two lone pairs on the central atom which act as a repulsive force on bonding pairs, due to these, bonded atoms are pushed down in order to minimize repulsion, as a result, it shapes appears as Bent or V-shaped.

Also Read:-

Preparation of OCl2

When mercury oxide reacts with chlorine gas, it produces, oxygen dichloride with the risk of mercury poisoning, therefore, this method is not safe as well it is very expensive.

⇒ 2Cl2 + HgO → HgCl2 + OCl2

The reaction of sodium carbonate with chlorine gas at 20 – 30ºC in presence of water produces sodium bicarbonate, sodium chloride, and oxygen dichloride.

⇒ 2Cl2 + 2Na2CO3 + H2O → OCl2 + 2NaHCO3 + 2NaCl

In another method, there is an absence of water with high heating approx 150-250 ºC, sodium carbonate reacts with chlorine gas produces oxygen dichloride along with carbon dioxide and sodium chloride.

⇒ 2Cl2 + Na2CO3 → OCl2 + CO2 + 2NaCl


  • The total valence electron available for drawing the OCl2 lewis structure is 20.
  • The steric number of the oxygen central atom in the OCl2 molecule is 4, thus, it forms Sp3 hybridization.
  • OCl2 is a polar molecule, its geometry is bent which is asymmetrical therefore, it will cause a non-zero dipole moment, which makes the OCl2 polar molecule in nature.
  • The molecular geometry or shape of OCl2 is Bent.
  • In the OCl2 lewis structure, a total of 8 lone pairs and 2 bond pairs are present.
  • The electron geometry of OCl2 is Tetrahedral.
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