Do octet exceptions based on formal charge exist?

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SubparChemist
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Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

Do octet exceptions based on formal charge exist?

Postby SubparChemist » Sun Nov 01, 2015 7:09 pm

This is incredibly hypothetical but I was wondering if there's ever a case where an atom that always wants an octet, such as Nitrogen or Carbon, would forfeit that octet in favor of having a lower formal charge.

Hypothetically, say our Nitrogen atom could either have only 6 electrons from a triple bond with another atom and a low formal charge (on the the other atom), or it could have an octet that resulted in its bonding atom having a formal charge of 4. Would in that case the molecule be more stable by allowing the Nitrogen to forfeit having an octet in sacrifice for a lower overall formal charge on the molecule?

Vinay Sharma 3L
Posts: 17
Joined: Fri Sep 25, 2015 3:00 am

Re: Do octet exceptions based on formal charge exist?

Postby Vinay Sharma 3L » Sun Nov 01, 2015 10:33 pm

You can take BF3 for an example. The central atom Boron creates three single bonds with the adjacent Fluorine atoms, creating a formal charge of 0 for Boron, though the octet rule is not satisfied. Also, in your example, Nitrogen would never satisfy the octet rule and have a formal charge of 4. The only way Nitrogen could have a formal charge of 4 is if it creates one single bond or has one electron, both of which are very unlikely.


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