What's the meaning of the triangle and striped line in this structure of $\ce{H3O+}$:

enter image description here

Can someone suggest me a site to learn about this?

(I'm quite a novice in chemistry.)



1 Answer 1


It is the way how to display the 3D structure of molecules on the 2D plane.

Imagine that

  • Atomic bonds represented by a normal line are placed on the plane of a paper/screen.
  • Atomic bonds represented by triangles point toward you from the plane.
  • Atomic bonds represented by stripes point behind the plane.

It is frequently used in organic chemistry, where the particular 3D structure matters, especially for optically active molecules (Their mirror image is not the identical molecule).

See the andselisk comment above.

  • $\begingroup$ But how will I show the double and triple bonds then? $\endgroup$
    – Shub
    Aug 13, 2020 at 13:37
  • 1
    $\begingroup$ Arrange them to be in the plane :-) E.g. both ethene and ethyne are planar. $\endgroup$
    – Poutnik
    Aug 13, 2020 at 13:39

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