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# Explanation of the formal charge of all atoms of OCN

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Molecule:
[:O triple bond C single bond N (3 pairs electrons)]

What are the formal charges on these atoms?
With which formula can the formal charge be calculated?

https://brainmass.com/chemistry/bonding/explanation-formal-charge-atoms-ocn-38806

## SOLUTION This solution is FREE courtesy of BrainMass!

To find out a formal charge we have to " separate " the bonds so that every atom get one electron of it. Then we must know the number of valence electrons of the free atom and the number of electrons in the lone pairs ( 2 per lone pair ).

In case of :O triple bond C - N (3 pairs electrons) we get:

O : lone pair (2 electrons) plus 3 electrons of the triple bond. That is 5 electrons. Compared now with the number of valence electrons of the free atom ( 6 electrons ) we find that oxygen has one electron less that the free atom. So we say the formal charge is +1 for oxygen.

In the same way we find for carbon and nitrogen:

C: free atom (4 valence electrons) compared with 4 electrons of the bondings gives a formal charge of 0 (zero)

N: free atom (5 valence electrons) compared with 6 electrons of the lone pairs plus 1 of the bond ( 6+ 1 = 7 ) we find that nitrogen has 2 electrons more than the free atom. So, the formal charge is -2

The general formula to calculate it is given to:

Formal charge = Number of valence electrons - (number of electrons of the lone pair/s) - 1/2 x (number of electrons of the bonds to the direct bound atoms)

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