How do you tell if parts of a molecule are in the same plane?

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

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Ananta3G
Posts: 62
Joined: Wed Sep 18, 2019 12:19 am

How do you tell if parts of a molecule are in the same plane?

Postby Ananta3G » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:09 pm

Hi! How can you tell if parts of a molecule are in the same plane or a different plane? Is it based on shape? bond angles? polarity? Thanks!

Ryan 1K
Posts: 101
Joined: Fri Aug 09, 2019 12:15 am

Re: How do you tell if parts of a molecule are in the same plane?

Postby Ryan 1K » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:13 pm

It mostly depends on the shape. I found looking at Google images of 3D representations of VSEPR theory shapes helped a lot.

Image

For example, in a seesaw-shaped molecule, there are two different planes that the atoms are in. The two forming a straight line are in one plane, and the other two, forming the base of the seesaw, are in another plane perpendicular to the first plane. Bond angles and polarity don't really tell us much about planes of the atoms if we know the shape since we are mainly looking at the spatial arrangement of atoms.

Victoria Li 1L
Posts: 51
Joined: Sat Jul 20, 2019 12:15 am

Re: How do you tell if parts of a molecule are in the same plane?

Postby Victoria Li 1L » Wed Dec 04, 2019 10:17 pm

Shape (& kind of bond angles)! Different molecule shapes have different planes. For example, trigonal planar atoms are all in the same single plane (120 degrees apart). However, octahedral molecules have 4 equatorial atoms in one plane, and the 2 axial atoms in another. I would try to imagine the molecular shape and see if the atoms could be intersected by a flat rectangle like this:
Image


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