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In quiz 3, they gave us several molecules (e.g. CH3+, OH-, CH3,Cl, CO2) and asked us to categorize them either as an electrophile or nucleophile. Other than the overall charge of the molecule, is there another way to tell whether a molecule is more electrophillic/nucleophillic?
Generally, nucleophiles will also have lone pairs or double bonds as electron-rich regions. Electrophiles, on the other hand, will have open valences or be missing an electron, as they are electron-deficient.
In order to differentiate if a neutral molecule is a nucleophile or electrophile we must pay attention to the central atom. If the central atom has a electronegativity of delta negative, this means it is electron rich and a nucleophile, and it has free electrons or a pi bond that could be broken to donate electrons to the electrophile. An electrophile, for example CO2, has delta positive on the central atom because the oxygens are delta negative, meaning they pull the electrons away from the center. This makes CO2 an electrophile because it seeks extra electrons.
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