Lewis Structure of SiCl4 (With 6 Simple Steps to Draw!)

Lewis Structure of SiCl4

I’m super excited to teach you the lewis structure of SiCl4 in just 6 simple steps.

Infact, I’ve also given the step-by-step images for drawing the lewis dot structure of SiCl4 molecule.

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

Lewis structure of SiCl4 contains four single bonds between the Silicon (Si) atom and each Chlorine (Cl) atom. The Silicon atom (Si) is at the center and it is surrounded by 4 Chlorine atoms (Cl). The Silicon atom does not have a lone pair while all four chlorine atoms have three lone pairs each.

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 SiCl4).

6 Steps to Draw the Lewis Structure of SiCl4

Step #1: Calculate the total number of valence electrons

Here, the given molecule is SiCl4 (silicon tetrachloride). In order to draw the lewis structure of SiCl4, first of all you have to find the total number of valence electrons present in the SiCl4 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 SiCl4

  • For Silicon: 

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

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

  • For Chlorine:

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

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

Hence in a SiCl4 molecule, 

Valence electrons given by Silicon (Si) atom = 4
Valence electrons given by each Chlorine (Cl) atom = 7
So, total number of Valence electrons in SiCl4 molecule = 4 + 7(4) = 32

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 SiCl4 molecule, if we compare the silicon atom (Si) and chlorine atom (Cl), then silicon is less electronegative than chlorine.

So, silicon should be placed in the center and the remaining 4 chlorine 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 SiCl4 molecule, put the two electrons (i.e electron pair) between each silicon atom and chlorine atom to represent a chemical bond between them.

step 2

These pairs of electrons present between the Silicon (Si) and Chlorine (Cl) atoms form a chemical bond, which bonds the silicon and chlorine atoms with each other in a SiCl4 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 SiCl4, the outer atoms are chlorine atoms.

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

step 3

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

Also, all the 32 valence electrons of SiCl4 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 SiCl4.

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 silicon) has an octet or not. 

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

step 4

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

Step #6: 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 silicon atom (Si) as well as each chlorine atom (Cl).

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

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

step 5
  • For Silicon:
    Valence electrons = 4 (as it is in group 14)
    Nonbonding electrons = 0
    Bonding electrons = 8
  • For Chlorine:
    Valence electron = 7 (as it is in group 17)
    Nonbonding electrons = 6
    Bonding electrons = 2
Formal charge=Valence electronsNonbonding electrons(Bonding electrons)/2

So you can see above that the formal charges on silicon as well as chlorine are “zero”.

Hence, there will not be any change in the above structure and the above lewis structure of SiCl4 is the final stable structure only.

Each electron pair (:) in the lewis dot structure of SiCl4 represents the single bond ( | ). So the above lewis dot structure of SiCl4 can also be represented as shown below.

SiCl4 Lewis Structure

Related lewis structures for your practice:
Lewis structure of BrO3-
Lewis structure of CBr4
Lewis structure of OCN-
Lewis structure of ICl4-
Lewis structure of SiF4

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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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