I'm practicing lewis structures and I'm stuck on the one for NO3 -1 (nitrate ion). I understand that N has to be the central atom because it is the least electronegative, but I'm confused why all the O have to be bonded to the N atom.

With O=N-O-O, you get 3 zero formal charges and one -1 instead of one zero, two -1 and one 1, which seems better. Also, H2O2 is a straight line instead of having the both H and and one of the O around a central O atom, so I'm confused why the nitrate ion must be the opposite.

Here is the work I did: enter image description here

  • 1
    $\begingroup$ There is nothing inherently wrong with that. It is just that we know all three O are attached to N. $\endgroup$ – Ivan Neretin Apr 30 at 5:31
  • $\begingroup$ And O-O bond is quite unrealistic really. You'll get the hang of the empirical part of Chemistry on studying it a little deeper. $\endgroup$ – William R. Ebenezer Apr 30 at 9:56
  • $\begingroup$ You win according to the rules you were given and were applying. The "correct answer" wins because that is what we observe in reality. So you discovered an exception to the rules you were given. $\endgroup$ – Karsten Theis Apr 30 at 14:03
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Peroxynitrite sure does exist. There no such thing as "best" structure. You could ask why it's much more reactive, though. $\endgroup$ – Mithoron Apr 30 at 23:01

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.