Molecular Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of ClF5 Lewis Structure

ClF5, also known as chlorine tetrafluoride, is a colourless interhalogen chemical with a sweet odour and a gaseous state.

It has a molecular weight of 130.445 g/mol and a density of 4.5 g/lit. It has a boiling point of 260 degrees Celsius and a melting point of 170 degrees Celsius.

Because ClF5 is a strong oxidant, it can be utilised as an oxidizer in rockets and propellants. It is, nevertheless, extremely caustic and toxic in nature. Long-term heat exposure might cause the containers to explode or break.

At room temperature, chlorine tetrafluoride is a potent fluorinating agent that reacts rapidly with a variety of elements.

ClF5 is made in a special way.

——> ClF5 ClF3 + F2 (at high temperature and high pressure)

Chemical Adhesion

Atoms of similar or dissimilar elements combine to produce a new molecular composition, which results in the formation of new chemical compounds. Chemical bonding is the study of atomic attraction that results in the development of a product, and the bond established is referred to as a chemical bond. We have ionic, covalent, metallic, hydrogen, and other sorts of bonding.

Let’s take a closer look at the chemical bonds within a chlorine tetrafluoride molecule.

Lewis Structure ClF5

We must first build the Lewis Structure diagram in order to comprehend the chemistry behind chemical bonding in any given molecule.

A step-by-step process for drawing a two-dimensional sketch of a molecule or ionic structure is known as Lewis Structure. It helps us understand bond formation by providing a diagrammatic picture of the arrangement or distribution of electrons around the constituent atoms.

Now we’ll look for a Lewis Structure diagram that fits our chemical, ClF5.

We’ll start by determining the total amount of valence electrons in the molecule.

The outermost shell electrons of an element, as determined by the atomic number and Periodic table, are known as valence electrons.

One atom of chlorine and five atoms of fluorine make up a molecule of chlorine tetrafluoride. Because chlorine and fluorine are both halogens, they are both found in group 17. There are seven valence electrons in each of the six atomic elements.

In a ClF5 molecule, the total number of valence electrons is 7 + 7*5 = 7 + 35 = 42.

We’ll now find out which element will occupy the molecule’s centre position. Cl has a higher electropositive value than F.

The centre atom is normally the element with the lowest electronegativity value, hence chlorine is the central atom here.

The chlorine atom is in the middle, with the fluorine atoms surrounding it. The valence electrons will now be placed around the atoms.

Because it uses dot notations to represent the valence shell electrons in the skeletal diagram, the Lewis Structure is also known as an electron-dot structure.

As you can see, we’ve surrounded the six atoms in ClF5 with all 42 electrons.

Because Chlorine is the most central atom in this system, it will establish bonds with all five Fluorine atoms. The bonds are shown by straight lines that each represent an electron pair.

Now we’ll look at the Octet Rule:

The elements in the main groups (groups 1-17) of the periodic table have a tendency to acquire the octet configuration of the outermost shell of noble gas elements, according to the octet rule.

Chlorine and fluorine will both tend to achieve octet completion of their valence shells in this situation.

We can observe that each of the five surrounding fluorine atoms has eight electrons, six of which are unbonded and two of which are bonded.

Chlorine, on the other hand, has 12 valence electrons surrounding it, ten of which are bonded and two of which are unbonded.

ClF5 cannot obey the octet fulfilment rule, which is an example of an exception to the general octet rule.

We must first review another concept, Formal Charge, before we can complete our Lewis Structure diagram.

The charge assigned to atoms inside a molecule on the assumption that electrons are always shared evenly among them is known as formal charge.

This is how the formal charge values of each atomic element are calculated.

The formal charge of each of the five F atoms is equal to 7 – 0.5*2 – 6 = 0.

Cl atom has a formal charge of 7 – 0.5*10 – 2 = 0.

Both elements’ atoms are present with their lowest attainable formal charge values. As a result, the following is the accurate and appropriate Lewis Structure diagram for ClF5:

Molecular Geometry of ClF5

The Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion theory is abbreviated as VSEPR.

The 3-dimensional molecular geometry of many compounds is explained and predicted using this model (usually covalent bonded). It’s a development of the Lewis Structure concept, which can only display a two-dimensional sketch and can’t go much farther.

We can better visualise the electrical organisation and structural structure of a molecule using VSEPR theory.

According to this hypothesis, because electrons are all negatively charged particles, like charges repel each other, and atoms are split apart to reduce this repulsion.

A diatomic molecule, for example, always has a linear molecular geometry with a 180-degree bond angle. Let’s use the VSEPR model to figure out the 3D molecular geometry of Chlorine Tetrafluoride.

This is a visual representation of the VSEPR chart. We employ certain notations in this theory to determine the actual molecule form.

AXnEx is the VSEPR notation.

A: central atom; in this case, the central atom is chlorine.

X: atoms in the immediate vicinity, ‘n’ represents the number, n = 5.

E: lone pairs on A, where ‘x’ is the number, and x = 1.

The VSEPR nomenclature for the ClF5 molecule is AX5E1. As a result, the shape is square pyramidal, and the arrangement is asymmetrical.

Hybridization of ClF5

The concept of orbitals is used in quantum mechanics. The mathematical function representing the probability of electron presence in a given region of space is known as orbital. There are electrons present in atomic orbitals.

Orbital hybridization is the process of combining and fusing atomic orbitals to generate hybrid orbitals inside a molecule.

There are five single bonds formed between Cl and each F atom in ClF5.

A single bond is a sigma pair, whereas a double bond is a sigma pair plus a pi pair. Cl has the following electronic configuration: 1s2 2s2 2p6 3s2 3p5.

The sum of the number of sigma bonds encircling the core atom and the number of lone pairs of electrons on that atom is referred to as the steric number in chemistry.

Number of atoms bound to the core atom inside a molecule + Number of lone pairs of electrons attached to the central atom = Steric number

5 + 1 Equals 6 steric number

As a result, the Cl hybridization in ClF5 is sp3d2.

Polarity of ClF5

An electric dipole moment occurs in a bond when the electronegativity values of two atomic elements differ significantly (greater than 0.4-0.5). The bond is therefore referred to as a polar bond. When the difference isn’t large enough, the bond is referred to as non-polar.

The term polarity thus refers to the charge separation between atoms in a molecule, as we can see.

If a molecule has polar bonds with one positive and one negative end, and the symmetry is not linear, the dipoles do not cancel out, we can term it polar.

However, a molecule with polar bonds can become non-polar due to a symmetrical charge distribution that results in a net-zero dipole, such as Boron trifluoride (BF3).

Is ClF5 a polar or a non-polar molecule? Let’s have a look at the Pauling electronegativity chart to see what we can learn.

The value of Cl is 3.16, while the value of F is 3.98. The disparity is approximately 0.82. As a result, Cl-F bonds are polar.

Due to the presence of a lone pair on Cl, the molecule is also asymmetrical. The molecule becomes polar as a result of this.


We go over the nature of chemical bonding in depth in this essay on ClF5. Lewis Structure Diagrams, molecular geometry, polarity, and hybridization have all been explored.

Good luck with your studies!

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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.


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