Molecular Geometry, Hybridization, and Polarity of COF2 Lewis Structure

Carbonyl fluoride (COF2) is a colourless, smelly gas with a chemical formula of COF2. It is highly poisonous to humans and causes frostbite by irritating the eyes, respiratory tract, skin, mucous membranes, and nose. Carbonyl fluoride, a chemical that can easily penetrate the skin and shut down the main organs of the human body, was utilised as a major chemical weapon during the First World War.

If exposed to heat for an extended period of time, this gas possesses an unstable molecular structure that is prone to severe rupturing. Carbonyl fluoride’s unstable nature is not just due to heat, but also to water. Carbonyl fluoride hydrolyzes hydrogen fluoride and carbon dioxide in the presence of water.

Furthermore, carbonyl fluoride is produced as a consequence of the thermal breakdown of fluorinated hydrocarbons such as tetrafluoromethane or trifluoromethanol.

CF4    +    H2O   ——>    COF2    +    2 HF

Carbonyl fluoride can also be made by reacting phosgene with hydrogen fluoride or oxidising carbon monoxide, albeit this can result in carbon tetrafluoride.

CO    +   2AgF2    —–>    COF2    +    2AgF

What is the Lewis dot structure, and how does it work?

The Lewis dot structure is a diagrammatic description of how electrons participate in bond formation, resulting in the development of a new molecule with new chemical characteristics. Only the electrons in an atom’s outermost shell participate in bond formation, either accepting or donating electrons.

Because these electrons are the furthest away from the nucleus of the atom, they establish bonds even with the tiniest stimulation. Furthermore, the Lewis structure reveals whether the atoms are forming a single, double, or triple bond.

This bond formation is represented by a line, with one representing a single bond, two representing a double bond, and three representing a triple bond. The Lewis diagram, on the other hand, is produced using the atom’s symbol and a pair of valence electrons around it.

Lewis Dot Structure in COF2

To figure out the Lewis structure of carbonyl fluoride, you must first figure out the structure of the involved atoms, which in this case are carbon and fluorine.

Carbon has an atomic number of 6 and an electrical configuration of 1s2 2s2 2p2. The p shell must contain 6 valence electrons in order to achieve a stable state. As a result, carbon has a total of four valence electrons.

Fluorine, on the other hand, has an atomic number of 9 and an electronic configuration of 1s2 2s2 2p5. With fluorine, there is an oddity in that the valence electrons are also available at the greatest primary energy levels.

As a result, the total number can be estimated by adding the valence electrons present in the highest primary energy levels, which in the case of fluorine are 2s and 2p. The total number of valence electrons in fluorine is 7, according to this.

Finally, oxygen has an atomic number of 8 and an electronic configuration of 1s2 2s2 2p4. When the same rule is applied to the oxygen atom as it does to fluorine, the valence electrons in an oxygen atom are found to be six.

Let’s look at the procedures required in drawing the carbonyl fluoride Lewis dot structure:

Step 1: Count how many valence electrons are already present in a single carbonyl fluoride atom: There are 24 because 4 come from the carbon atom, 6 from the oxygen atom, and 7 from each of the fluorine atoms.

Step 2: Determine how many extra valence electrons one carbonyl fluoride atom requires:

It is eight because the carbon atom requires four valence electrons, the oxygen atom requires two, and each of the fluorine atoms requires one valence electron.

Step 3: In one carbonyl fluoride atom, look for the centre atom:

The core atom, which can be either carbon or oxygen in the case of carbonyl fluoride, is believed to be present as a single entity. The centre atom should, by definition, be the one that can establish the most bonds with other atoms.

This indicates that the core atom will be the one with the lowest electronegativity value. The electronegativity of oxygen and carbon is 3.44 and 2.55, respectively. As a result, the carbon atom will be the centre atom.

Step 4: Determine the type of bond formed by the carbonyl fluoride molecule’s participating atoms: The oxygen and carbon atoms will form a shared covalent double bond, while the fluorine and carbon atoms will form a single bond.

Step 5: Now put all of the points together and make the Lewis dot diagram of carbonyl fluoride (COF2):

Carbonyl Fluoride Molecular Geometry (COF2)

Molecular geometry is a three-dimensional diagrammatic method of understanding an atom’s structure. Molecular geometry can be used to investigate bond length, type, angle, and other geometrical features.

After preparing the Lewis structure, this can be used to figure out an atom’s hybridization, polarity, and molecular orbital diagram.

Carbonyl fluoride (COF2) is a tetra-atomic molecule with a bond angle of 120° between the component atoms, resulting in a trigonal planar molecular shape.

COF2 is an intriguing molecule in which you could suppose that despite having so many lone pairs of electrons, the bond angle value is unaffected.

It can be investigated using the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) hypothesis, which explains why carbonyl fluoride exhibits such an anomaly.

There is a balanced proportion of bonds forming and lone pairs of electrons, which cancel out each other’s effects. As a result, there is a significant repulsive force that can cause the carbonyl fluoride’s molecular geometry to alter.

The carbonyl fluoride molecule has the optimal trigonal planar structure and behaviour because the lone pair of electrons on the fluorine and oxygen atoms balance out each other’s effects.

Carbonyl Fluoride Hybridization (COF2)

Hybridization is a visual illustration of how electrons interact by hopping from one energy level to another, resulting in the development of bonds between dissimilar atoms.

It is a mathematical procedure that involves combining two or more atomic orbitals of the same atom to create new ones that are structurally different but have similar energy levels.

The hybridization of the central atom is sp2 because the molecular geometry of carbonyl fluoride (COF2) is trigonal planar with a bond angle of 120° and no distortion from the ideal state. Valence Bond Theory (VBT) can be used to investigate it, as it verifies that sp2 hybridization is only possible when the molecular geometry is trigonal planar.

One s orbital and two p orbitals with similar energies are mixed and overlapped to generate a new hybrid orbital with the same energy as the older ones. All three hybrid orbitals are found in the same location, resulting in a 120° bond angle.

Furthermore, the new hybrid orbitals have 33.33 percent s shell properties and 66.66 percent p shell features.

Carbonyl Fluoride Polarity (COF2)

Polarity describes how an atom attracts or repels other electrons in its vicinity. It occurs when the charges within the molecule separate, resulting in two ends, one positively charged and the other negatively charged.

Electronegativity, which determines how strongly a molecule will attract neighbouring electrons, is the best way to determine polarity behaviour. Carbon, oxygen, and fluorine have electronegativity values of 2.55, 3.44, and 3.98, respectively.

The molecule is polar if the difference between the electronegativity values is more than 0.4, as it is in the case of carbonyl fluoride.

The presence of a double bond and an uneven pair of lone pair electrons on the involved atoms gives the molecule an overall net dipole moment, which is another way of looking at polarity in carbonyl fluoride.


Carbonyl fluoride (COF2) is a poisonous and combustible chemical in which the presence of a double bond between carbon and oxygen atoms and single bonds between carbon and fluorine atoms is determined by the Lewis structure.

In addition, many lone pairs occur, which do not change the molecular geometry but do make the molecule polar. Carbonyl fluoride has a perfect trigonal planar molecular geometry with a bond angle of 120°. The hybridization type, on the other hand, turns out to be the ideal shape, sp2, which is widely followed by all trigonal planar structured molecules.

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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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