Lewis Structure of ClF4- (With 5 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of ClF4-

Ready to learn how to draw the lewis structure of ClF4- ion?


Here, I have explained 5 simple steps to draw the lewis dot structure of ClF4- ion (along with images).

So, if you are ready to go with these 5 simple steps, then let’s dive right into it!

Lewis structure of ClF4- ion contains four single bonds between the Chlorine (Cl) atom and each Fluorine (F) atom. The Chlorine atom (Cl) is at the center and it is surrounded by 4 Fluorine atoms (F). The Chlorine atom has 2 lone pairs and it also has -1 formal charge.

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 ClF4-).

5 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of ClF4-

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given ion is ClF4- ion. In order to draw the lewis structure of ClF4- ion, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the ClF4- ion.
(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 ClF4-

  • For Chlorine:

Chlorine is a group 17 element on the periodic table. [1]

Hence, the valence electron present in chlorine is 7 (see below image).

  • For Fluorine: 

Fluorine is a group 17 element on the periodic table. [2]

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

Hence in a ClF4- ion, 

Valence electrons given by Chlorine (Cl) atom = 7
Valence electrons given by each Fluorine (F) atom = 7
Electron due to -1 charge, 1 more electron is added
So, total number of Valence electrons in ClF4- ion = 7 + 7(4) + 1 = 36

Step #2: Select the center atom

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). [3]

Here in the ClF4 molecule, if we compare the chlorine atom (Cl) and fluorine atom (F), then chlorine is less electronegative than fluorine.

So, chlorine should be placed in the center and the remaining 4 fluorine atoms will surround it.

step 1

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

Now in the above sketch of ClF4 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between each chlorine atom and fluorine atom to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Chlorine (Cl) and Fluorine (F) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds the chlorine and fluorine atoms with each other in a ClF4 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 ClF4, the outer atoms are fluorine atoms.

So now, you have to complete the octet on these fluorine atoms (because fluorine requires 8 electrons to have a complete outer shell).

step 3

Now, you can see in the above image that all the fluorine atoms form an octet.

Also, only 32 valence electrons of ClF4- ion are used in the above structure.

But there are total 36 valence electrons in ClF4- ion (as calculated in step #1).

So the number of electrons left to be kept on the central atom = 36 – 32 = 4.

So let’s keep these four electrons (i.e 2 electron pairs) on the central atom.

step 4

Now, let’s move to the next step.

Step #5: 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 chlorine atom (Cl) as well as each fluorine atom (F).

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

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

step 5
  • For Chlorine:
    Valence electrons = 7 (as it is in group 17)
    Nonbonding electrons = 2
    Bonding electrons = 8
  • For Fluorine:
    Valence electron = 7 (as it is in group 17)
    Nonbonding electrons = 6
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

Let’s keep this charge on the chlorine atom in the above lewis structure of ClF4 molecule.

step 6

As you can see in the above sketch, there is one -ve charge on the chlorine atom, which indicates the -1 formal charge on the ClF4 molecule.

Hence, the above lewis structure of ClF4- ion is the stable lewis structure.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of ClF4- ion represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of ClF4- ion can also be represented as shown below.

clf4- lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis Structure of CIF3
Lewis Structure of ClCN
Lewis Structure of CH2S
Lewis Structure of BrF4-
Lewis Structure of AsF6- 

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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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