Nitrogen or Oxygen as Central Atom

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Megan Wong 4E
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Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:28 am

Nitrogen or Oxygen as Central Atom

Postby Megan Wong 4E » Sun Nov 04, 2018 10:59 pm

When doing Lewis structures, the rule of thumb is to use the atom with the least ionization energy as the central atom. If one exception to the general trend of ionization energy (increases from left to right) is that nitrogen is higher in IE than oxygen, which would be the central atom?

For example, what is the lewis structure of N2O

Anna O 2C
Posts: 98
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:19 am

Re: Nitrogen or Oxygen as Central Atom

Postby Anna O 2C » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:28 pm

Nitrogen would be the central atom because the central atom should be the one that is least electronegative because it is more likely to share electrons. Central atoms should be chosen based on their electronegativity, not ionization energy. Hope this helps!

Tessa Lawler 1A
Posts: 57
Joined: Fri Sep 28, 2018 12:18 am

Re: Nitrogen or Oxygen as Central Atom

Postby Tessa Lawler 1A » Sun Nov 04, 2018 11:41 pm

Actually, the central atom is typically decided by which atom is the least electronegative. That would be Nitrogen in this case, so the very basic outline of N2O would be N-N-O (not taking into account the eventual double bonds/lone pairs you'd add in drawing the structure).


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