Lewis Structure of O2 (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis structure of O2

I’m super excited to teach you the lewis structure of O2 in just 6 simple steps.

Infact, I’ve also given the step-by-step images for drawing the lewis dot structure of O2 molecule.

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

Lewis structure of O2 (Oxygen) contains one double bond between both the Oxygen (O) atoms. And both the Oxygen atoms have two lone pairs on it.

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 O2).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of O2

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is O2 (Oxygen). In order to draw the lewis structure of O2, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the O2 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 O2

  • For Oxygen:

Oxygen is a group 16 element on the periodic table. [1]

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

Hence, total number of Valence electrons in O2 molecule = 6 (2) = 12

Step #2: Select the center atom

While selecting the atom, you have to put the least electronegative atom at the center. 

But here in the O2 molecule, both the atoms are same. So you can consider any of the atoms as a center atom.

step 1

So, let’s assume that the oxygen which is on the right side is the central atom.

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

Now in the above sketch of O2 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between both the oxygen atoms to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pair of electrons present between the Oxygen (O) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds both the oxygen atoms with each other in a O2 molecule.

Step #4: Complete the octet (or duplet) on outside atom. 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 O2, we have just assumed the right side oxygen atom as a central atom and so the left side oxygen atom is an outer atom.

So now, we have to complete the octet on this left side oxygen atom.

step 3

Now, you can see in the above image that the outer oxygen atom forms an octet.

Also, only 8 valence electrons of O2 molecule are used in the above structure.

But there are total 12 valence electrons in O2 molecule (as calculated in step #1).

So the number of electrons left to be kept on the central atom = 12 – 8 = 4.

So let’s keep these four electrons (i.e two electron pairs) on the central atom (i.e right side oxygen atom).

step 4

Now, 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 right side oxygen atom) has an octet or not.

In simple words, we have to check whether this Oxygen (O) atom is having 8 electrons or not.

step 5

As you can see from the above image, this right side oxygen atom has only 6 electrons. So it does not fulfill the octet rule.

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

step 6

Now you can see from the above image that the oxygen atom has 8 electrons. So it fulfills the octet rule and it 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 the oxygen atoms (O).

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

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

step 7
  • For Oxygen:
    Valence electron = 6 (as it is in group 16)
    Nonbonding electrons = 4
    Bonding electrons = 4
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

So you can see above that the formal charge on both the oxygen atoms are “zero”.

Hence, there will not be any change in the above structure and the above lewis structure of O2 is the final stable structure only.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of O2 represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of O2 can also be represented as shown below.

O2 Lewis structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis structure of CO
Lewis structure of CH4
Lewis structure of BF3
Lewis structure of NO3 –
Lewis structure of O3

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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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