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ZingPath: Molecular Structure

Molecular Geometry

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Molecular Structure

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Lesson Focus

Molecular Geometry


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You get to explore the structure of molecules to understand molecular geometry and master the concept of polarity. Then use that knowledge to help separate mixtures back into pure substances.

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Now You Know

After completing this tutorial, you will be able to complete the following:

  • Understand that molecules have different geometrical shapes.
  • Explain the factors that affect the geometrical arrangement of atoms in a molecule.
  • Explain that the molecular geometry of molecules is currently explained by the VSEPR theory.

Everything You'll Have Covered

What theory is used to explain why the geometric shape of a molecule is dependent on its bonding structure?

~ The Valence Shell Electron Pair Repulsion (VSEPR) theory explains why the geometric shape of a molecule is dependent on its bonding structure.

Based on this theory, how are the atoms in a beryllium hydride molecule positioned?

~ According to the VSEPR theory, the hydrogen atoms that bond to the center beryllium atom repel each other to position themselves as far away from each other as possible because there are no shared electrons. This results in a linear shape.

What does the theory tell us about the geometric shape of water molecules?

~ The VSEPR theory tells us that the two lone pairs in the oxygen atom found in the water molecule repel the electrons of the hydrogen atoms. This forces the unshared electrons of the oxygen atom to position themselves as far away from each other as possible. However, because the hydrogen atoms have more electrostatic force to repel each other and the electrons, water is unable to form a symmetrical shape.

What is hybridization and how is it related to molecular geometry?

~ Hybridization is a process by which certain atoms with empty orbitals in their outer shells mix atomic orbitals and form new hybrid orbitals to be able to share their electrons with other atoms. Hybridization is related to molecular geometry because the shape of a molecule is dependant in part on its type of hybridization.

Tutorial Details

Approximate Time 2 Minutes
Pre-requisite Concepts Students should be able to define the following terms: beryllium hydride, bonding, and bonds.
Course Chemistry
Type of Tutorial Animation
Key Vocabulary beryllium hydride, bonding, bonds