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Molecular Shapes - VSEPR (1)

Molecular geometries sorted by the molecular formula


By knowing the number of bonds and the number of lone pairs, the shapes of common main group molecules with formulas MX2, MX3, MX4, MX5, MX6 and MX7 can be predicted. Use the interactive models below to investigate these shapes. These are sorted below according to the formula. You can also view the shapes sorted by the number of bonds and lone pairs.

MX2 molecules and ions with the formula MX2+ or MX2-


2 bonds and no lone pairs: linear.
Examples: BeH2, CO2 and CS2
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2 bonds and 1 lone pair: bent.
Examples: O3, SO2 and NO2-
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2 bonds and 2 lone pairs: bent.
Examples: H2O, NH2- and ClF2+
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2 bonds and 3 lone pairs: linear.
Examples: XeF2, ClF2- and IF2-
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MX3 molecules and ions with the formula MX3+ or MX3-


3 bonds and no lone pairs: trigonal planar.
Examples: BF3, BH3, CH3+
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3 bonds and 1 lone pair: trigonal pyramidal.
Examples: NH3, PCl3, H3O+
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3 bonds and 2 lone pairs: T-shaped.
Examples: ClF3, IF3 and XeF3+
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MX4 molecules and ions with the formula MX4+ or MX4-


4 bonds and no lone pairs: tetrahedron.
Examples: CH4, NH4+ and BF4-
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4 bonds and 1 lone pair: 'see saw'.
Examples: SF4, ClF4+ and PF5-
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4 bonds and 2 lone pair: square planar.
Examples: XeF4, ClF4- and IF4-
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MX5 molecules and ions with the formula MX5+ or MX5-


5 bonds and no lone pair: trigonal bipyramidal.
Examples: PF5, PCl5 and SF5-
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5 bonds and 1 lone pair: square-based pyramid.
Examples: BrF5, XeF5+
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MX6 and MX7 molecules and ions with the formula MX6+ or MX6-


6 bonds and no lone pairs: octahedral.
Examples: SF6, PF6- and IF6+
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7 bonds and no lone pairs: pentagonal bipyramid.
Example: IF7
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