Structure of HCN

(Polar molecules, Non-polar molecules, etc.)

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Sean Sugai 4E
Posts: 56
Joined: Wed Sep 11, 2019 12:17 am

Structure of HCN

Postby Sean Sugai 4E » Tue Nov 19, 2019 4:56 am

Why is C the central atom in HCN? If N was the central atom, there would be formal charges on N and C, which means that it isn't the most stable structure. So, how do we know that C is the central atom?

Camellia Liu 1J
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:15 am

Re: Structure of HCN

Postby Camellia Liu 1J » Tue Nov 19, 2019 7:11 am

We know that H is never the central atom since it can't form more than one bond, so that rules it out. HNC and HCN are actually both real structures so technically you could have it as the central atom (if you are taking about hydrogen isocyanide vs. hydrogen cyanide). But if we take HCN as a structural formula, which shows the atoms of the molecule in the order that they are bonded, then we know that C is the central atom in HCN.

Sam McNeill 1E
Posts: 110
Joined: Sat Aug 24, 2019 12:17 am

Re: Structure of HCN

Postby Sam McNeill 1E » Tue Nov 19, 2019 9:47 am

You also know that since there are formal charges on the structure when N is the central atom and therefore is less stable, the C being the central atom is more stable and thus correct.

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