Formal Charge Meaning


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Natassia Dunn 3G
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Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:59 pm

Formal Charge Meaning

Postby Natassia Dunn 3G » Fri Oct 21, 2016 10:23 am

What is the actual meaning of the formal charge of an atom, and how does it affect the compound? I understand that we want all the atoms to have formal charges of 0 because this indicates that it is the most "stable", but what does this really mean/refer to?

Jennifer Ngo 1M
Posts: 23
Joined: Sat Jul 09, 2016 3:00 am

Re: Formal Charge Meaning

Postby Jennifer Ngo 1M » Fri Oct 21, 2016 12:07 pm

Formal charge is the difference between the number of valence electrons of each atom and the number of electrons the atom is associated with. Formal charge assumes any shared electrons are equally shared between the two bonded atoms.

Shirley_Zhang 3O
Posts: 35
Joined: Wed Sep 21, 2016 2:56 pm

Re: Formal Charge Meaning

Postby Shirley_Zhang 3O » Fri Oct 21, 2016 1:07 pm

Natassia Dunn 1G wrote:What is the actual meaning of the formal charge of an atom, and how does it affect the compound? I understand that we want all the atoms to have formal charges of 0 because this indicates that it is the most "stable", but what does this really mean/refer to?



You want the formal charge of an atom in a molecule to be zero because any number other than zero indicates instability. For instance, if you have a FC of +1 (or -1) for an atom, these non-zero charges would make the molecule more reactive because this the slight positivity or negativity in the molecule would attract other molecules or elements.


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