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Resonance Structures

Author: John Hutchinson

Another interesting challenge for the Lewis model we have developed is the set of molecules for which it is possible to draw more than one structure in agreement with the octet rule. A notable example is the nitric acid molecule, HNO3, where all three oxygens are bonded to the nitrogen. Two structures can be drawn for nitric acid with nitrogen and all three oxygens obeying the octet rule.

Figure 24.

In each structure, of the oxygens not boned to hydrogen, one shares a single bond with nitrogen while the other shares a double bond with nitrogen. These two structures are not identical, unlike the two freon structures below, because the atoms are bonded differently in the two structures.


Last Update: 2011-02-16