Lewis Structure of N2O4 (With 5 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of N2O4

I’m super excited to teach you the lewis structure of N2O4 in just 5 simple steps.

Infact, I’ve also given the step-by-step images for drawing the lewis dot structure of N2O4 molecule.

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

Lewis structure of N2O4 contains two Nitrogen (N) atoms at the center and it is surrounded by four Oxygen (O) atoms. The two Oxygen are double bonded while the other two Oxygen are single bonded with Nitrogen. The double bonded oxygen has 2 lone pairs while the single bonded oxygen has 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 N2O4).

5 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of N2O4

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is N2O4 (Dinitrogen tetroxide). In order to draw the lewis structure of N2O4, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the N2O4 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 N2O4

  • For Nitrogen:

Nitrogen is a group 15 element on the periodic table. [1]

Hence, the valence electrons present in nitrogen is 5 (see below image).

  • For Oxygen:

Oxygen is a group 16 element on the periodic table. [2]

Hence, the valence electron present in oxygen is 6 (see below image).

Hence in a N2O4 molecule,

Valence electrons given by Nitrogen (N) atom = 5
Valence electrons given by each Oxygen (O) atom = 6
So, total number of Valence electrons in N2O4 molecule = 5(2) + 6(4) = 34

Step #2: Select the center atom

While selecting the 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 N2O4 molecule, if we compare the nitrogen atom (N) and oxygen atom (O), then the nitrogen is less electronegative than oxygen.

So, nitrogen atoms should be placed in the center and the remaining 4 oxygen 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 N2O4 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between each nitrogen atom and oxygen atom to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Nitrogen (N) and Oxygen (O) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds the nitrogen and oxygen atoms with each other in a N2O4 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 N2O4, the outer atoms are oxygen atoms.

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

step 3

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

Also, all the 34 valence electrons of N2O4 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.

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 nitrogen) has an octet or not. 

In simple words, we have to check whether both the central Nitrogen (N) atoms have 8 electrons or not.

step 4

As you can see from the above image, both the nitrogen atoms have only 6 electrons. So they do not fulfill the octet rule.

Now, in order to fulfill the octet of nitrogen atoms, we have to move the electron pair from the outer atoms (i.e oxygen atom) to form a double bond.

step 5

Now you can see from the above image that the central atom (i.e nitrogen), is having 8 electrons. 

This indicates that both these nitrogen atoms are now stable, and this is the stable lewis structure of N2O4.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of N2O4 represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of N2O4 can also be represented as shown below.

N2O4 Lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis Structure of COF2
Lewis Structure of SCl4
Lewis Structure of PBr5
Lewis Structure of SiS2
Lewis Structure of OCS 

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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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