SCl4 Molecular Geometry

Sulfur tetrachloride(SCl4) has the composition of one sulfur and four chlorine atoms. What is the molecular geometry of sulfur tetrachloride?. Drawing and predicting the SCl4 molecular geometry is very easy by following the given method. Here in this post, we described step by step to construct SCl4 molecular geometry. Sulfur and chlorine come from the 16th and 17th family groups in the periodic table. Sulfur and chlorine have six and seven valence electrons respectively.

Key Points To Consider When drawing The SCl4 Molecular Geometry

A three-step approach for drawing the SCl4 molecular can be used. The first step is to sketch the molecular geometry of the SCl4 molecule, to calculate the lone pairs of the electron in the central sulfur atom; the second step is to calculate the SCl4 hybridization, and the third step is to give perfect notation for the SCl4 molecular geometry.

The SCl4 molecular geometry is a diagram that illustrates the number of valence electrons and bond electron pairs in the SCl4 molecule in a specific geometric manner. The geometry of the SCl4 molecule can then be predicted using the Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion Theory (VSEPR Theory) and molecular hybridization theory, which states that molecules will choose the SCl4 geometrical shape in which the electrons have from one another in the specific molecular structure.

Finally, you must add their bond polarities characteristics to compute the strength of the S-Cl bond (dipole moment properties of the SCl4 molecular geometry). The sulfur-chlorine bonds in the sulfur tetrachloride molecule(SCl4), for example, are polarised toward the more electronegative value chlorine atom, and because all (S-Cl) bonds have the same size and polarity, their sum is non zero due to the SCl4 molecule’s bond dipole moment, and the SCl4 molecule is classified as a polar molecule.

SCl4 Molecular Geometry

The molecule of sulfur tetrachloride (with bipyramidal trigonal shape SCl4 molecular geometry) is tilted at  102 and 173 degrees. It has a difference in electronegativity values between chlorine and sulfur atoms, with chlorine’s pull the electron cloud being greater than sulfur’s. As a result, it has a permanent dipole moment in its molecular structure. The SCl4 molecule has a dipole moment due to an unequal charge distribution of negative and positive charges.

Overview: SCl4 electron and molecular geometry

According to the VSEPR theory, SCl4 possesses a bipyramidal trigonal molecular geometry and SCl4-like electron geometry. Because the center atom, sulfur, has four S-Cl bonds with the chlorine atoms surrounding it. The Cl-S-Cl bond generates slightly less 102 and 173 degrees in the bipyramidal trigonal molecular geometry. The SCl4 molecule has a bipyramidal trigonal geometry shape because it contains four chlorine atoms.

There are four S-Cl bonds at the SCl4 molecular geometry. After linking the four chlorine atoms in the bipyramidal trigonal form, it maintains the trigonal bipyramidal-like structure. In the SCl4 molecular geometry, the S-Cl bonds have stayed in the four terminals of the trigonal bipyramidal molecule.

The center sulfur atom of SCl4 has one lone pair of electrons, resulting in bipyramidal electron geometry. However, the molecular geometry of SCl4 looks like a trigonal bipyramidal and one lone pair out of the plane. It’s the SCl4 molecule’s asymmetrical geometry. As a result, the SCl4 molecule is polar.

How to find SCl4 molecular geometry and hybridization

Calculating lone pairs of electron on sulfur in the SCl4 molecular geometry:

1.Determine the number of lone pairs on the core be an atom of the SCl4 Lewis structure.
Because the lone pairs on sulfur are mostly responsible for the SCl4 molecule geometry distortion, we need to calculate out how many there are on the central sulfur atom of the Lewis structure.

Use the formula below to find the lone pair on the sulfur atom of the SCl4 molecule.

L.P(S) = V.E(S) – N.A(S-Cl)/2

Lone pair on the central sulfur atom = L.P(S)

The core central sulfur atom’s valence electron = V.E(S)

Number of S-Cl bonds = N.A (S-Cl)

calculation for sulfur atom lone pair in SCl4 molecule

For instance of SCl4, the central atom, sulfur, has six electrons in its outermost valence shell and four S-Cl bond connections.

As a result of this, L.P(S) = (6 –4)/2=1

In the SCl4 electron geometry structure, the lone pair on the central sulfur atom is one. It means there is one lone pair in the core sulfur atom. These lone pair on the central sulfur atom is responsible for the SCl4 molecular geometry distortion.

If you imagine, these is no lone pair on sulfur atom of SCl4 molecule. Then , no electronic repulsion of S-Cl bond pair and lone pair in the SCl4. That gives stable trigonal bipyramidal geometry.

But in reality, SCl4 molecule undergoes distortion in its geometry due to the lone pair of electron on the sulfur atom. This leads bipyramidal trigonal geometry for SCl4 molecule.

Calculate the number of molecular hybridizations of SCl4 molecule

What is SCl4 hybrizidation? This is a very fundamental question in the field of molecular chemistry. All the molecules made by atoms. In chemistry, atoms are the fundamental particles. There are four different types of orbitals in chemistry. They are named as s, p, d, and f orbitals.

The entire periodic table arrangement are based on these orbital theory. Atoms in the periodic table are classified as follows:

s- block elements

p- block elements

d-block elements

f-block elements

Atoms are classified in the periodic table

SCl4 molecule is made of one sulfur and four chlorine atoms. The sulfur atom has s, p, and d orbital. Chlorine comes as the first element in the periodic table. The chlorine atom has s and p orbitals.

When these atoms combine to form the SCl4 molecule, its orbitals mixed and form unique molecular orbitals due to hybridization.

How do you find the SCl4 molecule’s hybridization? We must now determine the molecular hybridization number of SCl4.

The formula of SCl4 molecular hybridization is as follows:

No. Hyb of SCl4 = N.A(S-Cl bonds) + L.P(S)

No. Hy of SCl4= the number of hybridizations of SCl4

Number of S-Cl bonds = N.A (S-Cl bonds)

Lone pair on the central sulfur atom = L.P(S)

Calculation for hybridization number for SCl4 molecule

In the SCl4 molecule, sulfur is a core atom with four chlorine atoms connected to it and one lone pair. The number of SCl4 hybridizations (No. Hyb of SCl4) can then be estimated using the formula below.

No. Hyb of SCl4= 4+1 =5

The SCl4 molecule hybridization is five. The sp3d hybridization is formed when one S orbital, three p orbitals, and one d orbital join together to form a molecular orbital.

Molecular Geometry Notation for SCl4 Molecule :

Determine the form of SCl4 molecular geometry using VSEPR theory. The AXN technique is commonly used when the VSEPR theory is used to calculate the shape of the SCl4 molecule.

The AXN notation of SCl4 molecule is as follows:

The center sulfur atom in the SCl4 molecule is denoted by the letter A.

The bound pairs (S-Cl) of electrons to the core sulfur atom are represented by X.

The lone pairs of electrons on the center sulfur atom are denoted by the letter N.

Notation for SCl4 molecular geometry

We know that sulfur is the core atom, with four electron pairs bound (four S-Cl) and one lone pair. The general molecular geometry formula for SCl4 is AX4N1.

According to the VSEPR theory, if the SCl4 molecule has an AX4N1 generic formula, the molecular geometry and electron geometry will both be bipyramidal trigonal forms.

Name of Moleculesulfur tetrachloride
Chemical molecular formulaSCl4
Molecular geometry of SCl4Bipyramidal trigonal
Electron geometry of SCl4Bipyramidal trigonal
Hybridization of SCl4sp3d
Bond angle (Cl-S-Cl)slightly less than 102 º and 173º degree
Total Valence electron for SCl434
The formal charge of SCl4 on sulfur0


In this post, we discussed the method to construct SCl4 molecular geometry, the method to find the lone pairs of electrons in the central sulfur atom, SCl4 hybridization, and SCl4 molecular notation. Need to remember that, if you follow the above-said method, you can construct the SCl4 molecular structure very easily.

What is SCl4 Molecular geometry?

SCl4 Molecular geometry is an electronic structural representation of molecule.

What is the molecular notation for SCl4 molecule?

SCl4 molecular notation is AX4N1

The polarity of the molecules

The polarity of the molecules are listed as follows

Lewis Structure and Molecular Geometry

Lewis structure and molecular geometry of molecules are listed below

External Reference:

Information on sulfur tetrachloride(SCl4)

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