Lewis Structure of CHF3 (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of CHF3

Ready to learn how to draw the lewis structure of CHF3?


Here, I have explained 6 simple steps to draw the lewis dot structure of CHF3 (along with images).

So, if you are ready to go with these 6 simple steps, then let’s dive right into it!

Lewis structure of CHF3 contains a single bond between the Carbon (C) & Hydrogen (H) atom as well as between the Carbon (C) & Fluorine (F) atoms. The Carbon atom (C) is at the center and it is surrounded by one Hydrogen (H) and three Fluorine atoms (F). All the Fluorine atoms have 3 lone pairs.

Let’s draw and understand this lewis dot structure step by step.

(Note: Take a pen and paper with you and try to draw this lewis structure along with me. I am sure you will definitely learn how to draw lewis structure of CHF3).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of CHF3

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is CHF3. In order to draw the lewis structure of CHF3, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the CHF3 molecule.
(Valence electrons are the number of electrons present in the outermost shell of an atom).

So, let’s calculate this first.

Calculation of valence electrons in CHF3

  • For Carbon:

Carbon is a group 14 element on the periodic table. [1]

Hence, the valence electrons present in carbon is 4 (see below image).

  • For Hydrogen: 

Hydrogen is a group 1 element on the periodic table. [2]

Hence, the valence electron present in hydrogen is 1 (see below image).

  • For Fluorine: 

Fluorine is a group 17 element on the periodic table. [3]

Hence, the valence electrons present in fluorine is 7 (see below image).

Hence in a CHF3 molecule, 

Valence electrons given by Carbon (C) atom = 4
Valence electron given by each Hydrogen (H) atom = 1
Valence electrons given by each Fluorine (F) atom = 7
So, total number of Valence electrons in CHF3 molecule = 4 + 1 + 7(3) = 26

Step #2: Select the center atom (H is always outside)

While selecting the center atom, always put the least electronegative atom at the center.

(Remember: Fluorine is the most electronegative element on the periodic table and the electronegativity decreases as we move right to left in the periodic table as well as top to bottom in the periodic table). [4]

Here in the CHF3 molecule, if we compare the carbon atom (C) and fluorine atom (F), then the carbon is less electronegative than fluorine.

So, carbon should be placed in the center and the fluorine atom will surround it.

Also as per the rule, we have to keep hydrogen outside.

step 1

Step #3: Put two electrons between the atoms to represent a chemical bond

Now in the above sketch of CHF3 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between the carbon-hydrogen atoms and carbon-fluorine atoms to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Carbon & Fluorine atoms as well as between the Carbon & Hydrogen atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds these atoms with each other in a CHF3 molecule.

Step #4: Complete the octet (or duplet) on outside atoms. If the valence electrons are left, then put the valence electrons pair on the central atom

Don’t worry, I’ll explain!

In the Lewis structure of CHF3, the outer atoms are hydrogen atoms and fluorine atoms.

So now, you have to check whether these hydrogen atoms are forming a duplet or not! (because hydrogen requires only 2 electrons to have a complete outer shell).

You also have to see whether the fluorine atoms are forming an octet or not! (because fluorine requires 8 electrons to have a complete outer shell).

step 3

You can see in the above image that both the hydrogen atoms form a duplet. And the fluorine atoms also form an octet.

Also, all the 26 valence electrons of CHF3 molecule (as calculated in step #1) are used in the above structure. So there are no remaining electron pairs.

Hence there is no change in the above sketch of CHF3.

Let’s move to the next step.

Step #5: Check whether the central atom has octet or not. If it does not have an octet, then move the electron pair from the outer atom to form a double bond or triple bond

In this step, we have to check whether the central atom (i.e carbon) has an octet or not.

In simple words, we have to check whether the central Carbon (C) atom is having 8 electrons or not.

step 4

As you can see from the above image, the central atom (i.e carbon), is having 8 electrons. So it fulfills the octet rule and the carbon atom is stable.

Step #6: Final step – Check the stability of lewis structure by calculating the formal charge on each atom

Now, you have come to the final step and here you have to check the formal charge on carbon atom (C), fluorine (F) atoms as well as hydrogen atoms (H).

For that, you need to remember the formula of formal charge;

Formal charge = Valence electrons – Nonbonding electrons – (Bonding electrons)/2

step 5
  • For Carbon:
    Valence electrons = 4 (as it is in group 14)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 8
  • For Fluorine:
    Valence electron = 7 (as it is in group 16)
    Nonbonding electrons = 6
    Bonding electrons = 2
  • For Hydrogen:
    Valence electron = 1 (as it is in group 1)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

So you can see above that the formal charges on carbon, fluorine as well as hydrogen are “zero”.

Hence, there will not be any change in the above structure and the above lewis structure of CHF3 is the final stable structure only.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of CHF3 represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of CHF3 can also be represented as shown below.

chf3 lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis Structure of BrO4-
Lewis Structure of NO2F
Lewis Structure of XeOF4
Lewis Structure of ICl
Lewis Structure of H2SO3 

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Jay is an educator and has helped more than 100,000 students in their studies by providing simple and easy explanations on different science-related topics. With a desire to make learning accessible for everyone, he founded Knords Learning, an online learning platform that provides students with easily understandable explanations.

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