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Yes they can be the same length. This would indicate that this Lewis structure is a resonance structure. We all know double bonds and single bonds are not equivalent so if the structure shows they are, this means the electron is delocalized and shifts from one atom to another in the middle.
within a lewis structure if there is single and double bonds, then the bond length of all the bonds is going to going to be the same and it will be a length somewhere in between that of the length of the single bond and the length of the double bond, this is because this creates a more stable structure
Nominally, double bonds are shorter than single bonds. However, if you can draw a resonance structure in which the same atoms have a double or a single bond, this indicates the true bond length of those atoms is somewhere between single and double. Note this only applies if the resonance structures drawn are all valid (as in the case of nitrate NO3-). Because NO3- has a double bond and a single bond between N and O, and all the structures are equally valid, the true bond length is somewhere between an NO single bond and NO double bond.
Layla Manoochehri wrote:how do we know the bond length? is it something we have to look up?
We do not need to know the exact bond length, we just need to know the trend of the size of bonds. There was an example of this on the midterm with how we have a double and single bond in resonance, which showed that the actual bond length would be between the measurements that were given to us.
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