# The pentagonal pyramidal structure of XeOF5- [closed]

Why does the $\ce{XeF6}$ molecule have an octahedral structure while $\ce{XeOF5-}$ has a pentagonal pyramidal structure, despite both molecules having 7 electron pairs? I suppose the extra electron on oxygen would distort the molecule somewhat, but this seems like an extreme outcome.

• Aug 10 '18 at 15:16

$\ce{XeF6}$ is not octahedral, but distorted (or capped octahedral), one of the possible arrangement for seven electron pairs.

Wikipedia provides the following, quoted from a paper by Konrad Seppelt in Accounts of Chemical Research[1]:

...the structure is best described in terms of a mobile electron pair that moves over the faces and edges of the octahedron and thus distorts it in a dynamic manner...

The molecular geometry of $\ce{XeF6}$ is thus not truly an octahedron, nor is it static. In fact, the referenced article by Seppelt indicates that $\ce{XeF6}$ is only monomeric in the gas phase. In solution and the solid phase it is tetrameric $\ce{Xe4F24}$ clusters. The solid phase appears to be more like clusters of $\ce{[XeF5+ F^{-}]}$ with the fluoride ions bridging two $\ce{XeF5+}$ centers. Thus, in the solid, every $\ce{Xe}$ atom has 7 bonds to fluorine, with two that are more ionic. The structure for this scenario looks like the pentagonal pyramid.

Reference:

1. Seppelt, Konrad (June 1979). "Recent Developments in the Chemistry of Some Electronegative Elements". Accounts of Chemical Research 12 (6): 211–216. doi:10.1021/ar50138a004
• In XeF6 monomeric structure where will the lone pairs be situated ? In the equatorial plane or axial plane...? Aug 23 '15 at 4:25
• @SubhadipPal - see the block quote in my answer. The lone pair is mobile (or perhaps delocalized). Aug 23 '15 at 10:17
• Can u explain the structure by VSEPR thoery..? Sep 9 '15 at 17:53
• @SubhadipPal - VSEPR is a model based on classical mechanics that survives into the quantum mechanics age. VSEPR survives because it is a useful model, but it has its limits. This compound is one of its limits. Sep 9 '15 at 18:02