Formal Charge vs. Electronegativity

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Formal Charge vs. Electronegativity

Postby StephanieDoan3B » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:20 pm

For example, in SO2, the most stable structure is O=S=O which gives all three atoms formal charge of zero. However, O=S-O and O-S=O also exist, giving formal charge of -1 to the oxygen attached by single bond and formal charge of +1 to the central S atom. This would also make sense because O is more electronegative than S. So would it be best to include all three resonance structures? When deciding between them, is it more important that all formal charge is close as possible to zero, or does the electronegativity difference make the nonzero formal charges also probable?

Jingyi Li 2C
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Joined: Fri Sep 29, 2017 7:06 am

Re: Formal Charge vs. Electronegativity

Postby Jingyi Li 2C » Wed Nov 08, 2017 3:37 pm

I would say the most stable one is the dominant structure in all three resonance structures, which is when the formal charge is as close as possible to zero. The other two structures exist because it obeys the octet rule and the electronegativity difference makes it possible.

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