Hybridization, Lewis Structure, and Molecular Geometry of H2SO4

Sulfuric acid, often known as Oil of Vitriol, has the chemical formula H2SO4. It’s a type of mineral acid made up of oxygen, hydrogen, and sulphur. The molecular weight of this compound is 98.079 g/mol. H2SO4 is a dehydrating and oxidising agent. Furthermore, it is diprotic in nature, meaning it has the ability to release two protons at the same time.

It’s a colourless, odourless, and highly caustic substance. It has a wide range of industrial applications, including washing contaminants from refinery products in petroleum refining. Continue reading the article to learn more about its structure, shape, and polarity.

Sulfuric Acid’s Characteristics

H2SO4Sulfuric Acid
Molecular Weight/ Molar Mass98.079 g/mol
Density1.84 g/cm³
Boiling Point337 °C
Melting Point10 °C

What is the Lewis Structure, and how does it work?

Lewis structures, also known as electron dot diagrams or Lewis dot diagrams, are representations of valence shell electrons in a molecule that portray electrons as dots.

Knowing about molecular geometry is beneficial.

What is the significance of the Lewis Structure?

They’re essential for estimating the type and quantity of bonds that can form around an atom.

The initial step in anticipating the 3-D form of molecules is to draw a Lewis Structure.

This helps us understand how atoms link, the physical properties of the molecule, and how biological molecules interact with one another.

Drawing the Lewis Dot Structure in Steps

To prevent making mistakes when sketching the Lewis dot structure for any chemical formula, keep the following points in mind.

• Determine how many valence electrons each hydrogen, sulphur, and oxygen atom has.

• Find out how many electron pairs there are in total.

• The choice of the central atom.

• At this point, lone pairs are assigned to each atom in the molecule.

• Check the stability of the structure after allocating the pairs until the most stable structure is found.

Lone pairs can be turned into bonds until a stable structure is achieved.

H2SO4 Lewis Dot Structure

To draw the H2SO4 Lewis Dot Structure, follow the steps below.

H2SO4 Valence Electrons (Step 1)

To sketch the Lewis structure of H2SO4, we must first know the molecule’s valence electron count.

Sulfur, a group 16 element, has 6 valence electrons and requires 2 electrons to complete its octet, but oxygen, also a group 16 element, has 6 electrons in its outermost shell and hence requires two electrons to complete its octet.

The hydrogen atom contains one electron in its valence shell and needs one more to achieve stability.

As a result, H2SO4’s total number of electrons is:

Sulphur has six electrons in its valence.

6 Valence electrons = Oxygen; 4 X 6 = 24 for 4 Oxygen atoms

1 Valence electron = 1 hydrogen atom; 2 X 1 = 2 hydrogen atoms = 1 hydrogen atom = 1 hydrogen atom = 1 hydrogen atom = 1 hydrogen atom = 1 hydrogen atom = 1 hydrogen

As a result, H2SO4 has a total of 32 valence electrons.

Step 2 – The hydrogen atom’s electrons can also be thought of as two negative charges because they play such a minor part in the structure.

Step 3: Create a basic structure To determine the amount of electrons required to complete the octet of the supplied atoms, sulphur is used as the centre atom, which is linked with all four oxygen atoms through a single bond.

Step 4 – Examining the structure, it is evident that two oxygen atoms, along with the sulphur atom, form an octet.

Although it can be seen here that sulphur now has ten electrons in its valence shell after the establishment of four single bonds.

However, because sulphur is in the third row of the periodic table and is allowed to have an enlarged octet, this should not be a concern.

Step 5 – Now we’re left with two oxygen atoms, each of which need one electron to acquire its stable state, and in order to do so, they create a double bond with the sulphur atom.

Step 6 – As a result, the final structure of sulphuric acid looks like this.

Step 7: Let’s calculate the formal charge of our derived Lewis structure to see how efficient it is.

The formal charge is a theoretical concept used to determine the competence of a Lewis structure that has been established.

Step 8: The formal charge of a compound should be near zero for the best potential Lewis structure. The following formula is used to compute it:

[Total number of valence e– in Free State] = Formal Charge (FC). – [Total number of non-bonding e–– 1/2 (Total number of bonding e–)] – [Total number of non-bonding e–– 1/2 (Total number of bonding e–)]

Step 9: For the formal charge of the H2SO4 molecule, each atom’s charge is calculated separately:

Number of valence electrons in free state for Sulphur atoms = 6.

0 is the number of non-bonding electrons.

The number of bonding electrons is equal to six.

As a result, the formal charge on the sulphur atom is 6 – 0 – 12. (12)

equals 0

Similarly, the number of valence electrons in the free state for Oxygen atoms is 6.

The number of non-bonding electrons is equal to four.

The number of bonding electrons is equal to four.

As a result, the formal charge on the oxygen atom is 6 – 4 – 12. (4)

equals 0

Step 10: As a result, the H2SO4 molecule’s total formal charge becomes zero, suggesting that the Lewis structure shown above is true.

Do you have any idea? More than eight valence electrons can be accommodated by sulphur.

Molecular Shape and Polarity of H2SO4

The atoms involved in the creation of a molecule determine its molecular shape and polarity. The electrical arrangement with lone pairs gives the molecule the most stable structure.

A molecule’s polar or nonpolar character is determined by the electronegativity of its atoms and the type of bond formed.

Molecular Form

Sulfur, the core atom in the H2SO4 molecule, has four paired electrons and zero unpaired electrons.

As a result, it has a tetrahedron shape with a 109.5 degree angle between the Sulfur and the four Oxygen atoms.

The linear link between hydrogen and oxygen has an angle of 180 degrees.

Polarity of Molecules

Because of the twisted H-O-S bonds found in the H2SO4 molecule, it is polar in nature. The charge distribution across the molecule becomes non-uniform as a result.

H2SO4 Hybridization

It’s the process of atomic orbitals fusing together to generate new hybridised orbitals, which effects molecule geometry.

Hybridized orbitals are the name given to the new orbitals. It only happens when bonds are formed, not while they are gaseous.

In molecules, sulphur atoms form bonds with four other atoms.

The atoms will separate as far as feasible according to the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory (VSEPR), resulting in bonds that are 109.5 degrees apart.

Using the formula below, you can easily calculate the hybridization of any chemical.

H= 12 (number of valence electrons in the core atom plus number of monovalent atoms – cation + anion)

12 + 6 + 2 = 4

When there are four hybrid orbitals, we know that.

As a result, hybridization is sp3, or tetrahedral.

Molecular Geometry of H2SO4

The geometry of sulfuric acid is tetrahedral. There is a bonding of four groups, including two of O and two of -OH, due to the central sulphur atom.

It also lacks a single pair of electrons.

Tetrahedron shape is the lowest energy geometry for this type of molecule, according to the VSEPR theory.

In H2SO4, the kind of bonding is

This anion is a bisulfate that accepts electrons from other metals. Covalent polar bonds arise between hydrogen, sulphur, and oxygen atoms.

This also implies that the dipole moment is in action, resulting in the determination of which compound has a positive and negative charge.

Furthermore, both sulphur and oxygen have a high electronegativity. This is why electrons are attracted to these two elements rather than hydrogen.

H2SO4 has sulphur as its core atom, as shown in the Lewis Structure.

The sulphur atom is double-bonded to two oxygen atoms, while the other two are single-bonded.

Each single-bonded oxygen atom also has a hydrogen atom linked to it.

Intermolecular Forces in H2SO4

The dipoles of the H2SO4 molecule are also closer together, making it a highly polar molecule. Because of the small size of hydrogen atoms, this is the case.

In comparison to the other molecules, hydrogen is the most likely to form a strong bond with the oxygen atoms.

The connection is thought to be strong since it takes a lot of energy to convert it to a gaseous or liquid state.

H2SO4 has high melting and boiling points as a result.

One reason for this is to specify the bond strength since oxygen is extremely electronegative to hydrogen, forcing the molecules to be held closely together.


The H2SO4 belongs to the group of strong acids. As previously stated, it has a tetrahedral geometry. Aside from that, the core atom’s hybridization is sp3.

If you have any questions, don’t hesitate to ask. If you have any questions, please post them in the comments area.

Good luck with your studies!!

Read more: Is CH3Br a polar or a non-polar compound?

Misha Khatri
Misha Khatri is an emeritus professor in the University of Notre Dame's Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry. He graduated from Northern Illinois University with a BSc in Chemistry and Mathematics and a PhD in Physical Analytical Chemistry from the University of Utah.


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Read More