Formal Charge Purpose

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Erik Buetow 1F
Posts: 96
Joined: Fri Aug 30, 2019 12:15 am

Formal Charge Purpose

Postby Erik Buetow 1F » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:10 pm

Why do we want the formal charge to be as close to zero as possible? Does that just symbolize that it is the most stable structure that the compound can have?

Chetas Holagunda 3H
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Joined: Thu Jul 11, 2019 12:17 am
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Re: Formal Charge Purpose

Postby Chetas Holagunda 3H » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:16 pm

Yes. The lower the magnitude of the total formal charge, the more stable that structure is for the compound. Also, allowing the more electronegative atoms to have the lower formal charge makes it more stable.

Nare Nazaryan 1F
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Formal Charge Purpose

Postby Nare Nazaryan 1F » Sun Nov 03, 2019 1:19 pm

When the formal charge is 0, that means that the number of bonds of the atom are balanced with its lone pairs. So yes, it does mean that it is more stable.

Sydney Pell 2E
Posts: 100
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Formal Charge Purpose

Postby Sydney Pell 2E » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:19 pm

It's also important to remember that if you are drawing an ion, the total formal charges should add up to the overall charge of the ion.

Posts: 53
Joined: Thu Jul 25, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Formal Charge Purpose

Postby TheresaDsilva4A » Sun Nov 03, 2019 7:24 pm

Just to add on, when a molecule has resonance structures, it's important to calculate the formal charge distribution of each structure. The resonance structure with the lowest formal charge makes the dominant contribution to the resonance hybrid because it is most energetically favorable (as you all have explained above).

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